Cheongju National Museum is one of the best places I have explored and enjoyed in my Cheongju City visit. Different from most museums, Cheongju Museum is located on a hillside outside the downtown with fantastic verdant surroundings.
The museum houses fascinating artifacts and items of various historical origins. The main museum has four galleries, namely:
Indeed, the artifacts are not limited to those galleries. It also houses other objects that were excavated in Chungcheongbuk-do (Province).
Aside from the main building that houses the four galleries, other structures and spaces surrounding it each with other exciting functions and items are worth seeing. They are...
The whole area is quite spacious, which offers a relaxing venue and space to do a small picnic with friends and family.
As a brief historical background of the museum, let me enumerate the chronology of its establishment as follow...
1978 August: the land was donated for the buildings
1982 Mar 16: Construction commenced
1987 Jul 20: Construction completed
1987 Aug 17: Established an organization
1987 Oct 30: Opening
1998 Jul 22: Children's Hall was opened
2004 Oct 8: Cheongmyeonggwan Hall was opened
2011 Dec 20: Exhibition Halls renovations
When I started moving uphill, I didn't waste time but went looking for the main hall and towards the entrance. I was sure it was the main building as it mentioned the museum's full name.
It was the time when Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) started to spread slowly. So, as I went in with my mask on, I looked for the hand sanitizer and sanitized my hands. Gently greeted the young staff at the Front Desk. I headed towards the direction of the arrow, pointing to the first gallery with much excitement.
Now, what I want to do is describe each gallery chronologically. Since I cannot describe everything, let me include the photos which I think would make you get interested. I hope!
The moment I entered, I know that it would look quite familiar to me. I know that I will see stone tools, among other ancient items.
The gallery brings visitors to the prehistoric time and culture that shaped the present Chungcheongbuk-do province. Here, you will see the artifacts from the Paleolithic Age to the Early Iron Age.
Most of the artifacts were excavated and uncovered at various archaeological sites around the Namhangang and Geumgang Rivers in the province.
The artifacts describe how the Neolithic settlers in the area lived by farming. They made and used potteries. The Bronze Age settlers, on the other hand, used stone tools for farming rice and other grains as a staple food.
Having satisfied my curiosity, I moved to the next gallery...
This gallery exhibits ancient artifacts, including Buddhist sculptures that were unearthed from archaeological sites, including residences, tombs, fortress walls, and other sites.
The archaeological finds date back to the Samhan Period (300 BCE-300 CE) up to the Unified Silla Period (676-935 CE).
All the findings testify the fact that Chungcheongbuk-do Province people have experienced various stages of cultural development and competition among the three kingdoms: Silla, Baekje, and Goguryeo.
Horse-head-shaped Vessel handle
Amitabha Buddha Stele
Stele from a Buddhist Temple
Having scoured the exhibits, but deliberately choosing only those I thought were very significant (I guess they all are significant!). Next gallery...
During the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392) period, Chungcheongbuk-do province was called Yanggwangdo.
The Buddhist religion culture flourished in this region as royal and powerful families controlled the area. It means that Buddhist religious beliefs influenced the development and culture.
The construction of the temples was sponsored by the affluent royal families and powerful clans.
Heungdeoksa Temple was one of those temples built and supported by those families. Since they have the resources, they developed various cultural legacies, including the invention of the Buddhist scriptures printed with supposedly the world's oldest metal type.
The photos below describe the lifestyles of the people at various periods.
I took lots of photos in this hall, and I saw my camera running out of battery. Unfortunately, my backup battery was also used up. With the remaining bar, I hurried to the next and last hall and sparingly taking photos I thought very useful for this article.
This gallery offers an overview of the Joseon period's residents during the 1392-1910 period. You can find various products of porcelain produced in Chungcheongbuk-do Province.
A lot of household and funeral artifacts provide us glimpses of their culture. Some tableware and accessories date back to the 15th-17th centuries.
Samples of the most significant finds include the books, portraits, written scripts, calligraphy, and other historical treasures produced by officials and scholars of the period.
Wooden Figures for funerals
Portrait of Choe Seokjeong
Collection of Letters
Large Seongja Chongtong Gun
There are more to see besides my descriptions and photos included here. Of course, if you feel exhausted and wanted to take a break, there are seats and areas where you can slow down.
Cheongju National Museum is accessible by the public during...
Tuesday to Friday: 10 AM to 6 PM
Saturday (April-October): 10 AM to 9 PM
Saturday (Jan-Mar, Nov-Dec): 10 AM to 7 PM
Sunday/Public Holidays: 10 AM to 7 PM
However, Cheongju National Museum is NOT open on...
Mondays, New Year's Day, Seollal (Lunar New Year), Chuseok (Thanksgiving days).
Other Useful Information
Rest Room / Washrooms
Rental Service (wheelchairs, baby carriers)
Cafe and sitting areas
You can get there quickly as you have choices of transports, including private cars, buses, and taxis.
No need to provide a guide for a private vehicle because you can use your navigator.
From Cheongju Downtown, you can take a bus from Chungbuk Provincial Government Office (and other bus stops nearby) with numbers 862-1, 862-2, 863-1, and 863-2. Then get off at Cheongju Museum. Don't worry because it will be announced in various languages, including English, Japanese, and Chinese.
Simply tell your driver to bring you to the museum. You can say the name in English. But if you prefer, you can write down the Korean word: 국깁청주박물관. That's the literal translation for Cheongju National Museum.
From Cheongju Downtown, it will take around 20 minutes to get there. Of course, it depends on where or which hotel you are staying in. If you asked me, stayed in a hotel at the center of the downtown where the actions are.
I highly recommend it. It is worth visiting. It is like finding gold and other treasures. Only they are not yours! They are world heritage (not enlisted), but part of human history.
Second, it is not time-consuming to get there if you are already in Cheongju City. A bus is fine. A taxi is faster and inexpensive in Korea.
Third, you can visit other attractions nearby--Cheongju Land (check it out). And if already here, take a bus for Sangdang Mountain Fortress. It's only around 15 to 20 minutes, I think, to get there. I strongly recommend visiting those ancient mountain walls.
Now, if you have questions or any, please drop me a line.
Thanks for reading and enjoy your travels.