Yonsei University Museum

korean-royal-swordRoyal Sword used to protect the royal family from misfortunes and evil spirits

yonsei university museum

Yonsei University Museum is located right in Yonsei University campus in Seoul, South Korea.

The Museum was established in 1924. Its history is one of the longest among university museums in the country.

One of Yonsei Museum's achievement was the discovery of Seokhangri Paleolithic artifacts in 1964. The unearthing of Korean paleolithic culture has opened a new chapter in Korean archaeology and history.

Yonsei History Museum has undergone reorganizations leading to its recent comprehensive displays of items.

yonsei-university-centennial-hallCentennial Hall of Yonsei University which houses Yonsei University Museum

This reorganization happened in 1981, which one can now observe sections for various fields including archaeology, art, history, folklore, natural history.

In 1988, the Museum was moved to the Centennial Hall as part of the University's commemoration activities and celebrate its anniversary--a celebration for having completed a hundred years of service since its nascent in 1885.

Now, since 2006, Yonsei University Museum is officially recognized as a place that can issue certification for career experiences.

Since then, many students, volunteers, and trainees did a variety of tasks, including being museum curators, among other works. They all have received official certificates for various purposed.

yonsei-university-museumPottery artifacts on exhibition

Yonsei University Brief Background

The present University was first established as a hospital in 1885 called "Gwanghyewon."

Horace N. Allen, a medical missionary, established Gwanghyewon to care for the Korean people. Along with Allen was another missionary named Horace G. Underwood.

Both Allen and Underwood did the medical treatment while based in Gwanghyewon that later on become the foundation of Yonsei University.

yonsei-universityFounders of Yonsei University

NOTE: King Gojong renamed Gwanghyewon into Chejungwon two weeks after it was opened due to some unknown reasons.

The small medical building became more institutionalized, which later on became Severance Hospital and Severance Medical School.

In the education area, the initially small Underwood School became Yonhi College and then Yonhi University.

The combination of both Yonhi University and Severance Hospital made its present united name -- Yonsei (Yon + Se) University.

The Centennial Hall & museum

It is in this Hall where you can find the Museum.

The following are the primary set up of the Museum.

  • 1st Floor: Visual Arts, Special Exhibition
  • 2nd Floor: Yonsei History, Korean Prehistory, Korean History, Chinese Jades
  • 3rd Floor: Pottery, Donate Artifacts, Museum’s office
  • 1st Basement: Auditorium

1st Floor: Visual Arts & special Exhibition

The exhibitions here are temporary and you know it means that they change the displays according to contracts with the exhibitors or artists. It means that the photos under this heading will be changed based on the availability of my photos.

yonsei-museum-visual-artsX-Ray Photography Exhibition

ROYAL SWORD: The sword was made by and for the Royal family during the late Joseon Dynasty Period. It is called "Four-Positive-Sword" and is meant to guard them against malevolent powers.

yonsei-university-museumA Royal Sword on display. What is special with this sword is that it is itched with constellations. Each constellation has its own interpretation in Chinese characters.
yonsei-university-museumAncient Royal Sword temporarily exhibited at Yonsei University Museum

The "four-positive-sword" was intended to stop any sort of misfortune and evil spirits. It is especially carved or itched with characters and constellations.

One one side of the blade, you will see 30 Chinese characters which are arranged vertically. On the other side, you can see the depiction of 20 cosmic constellations, one of which is the Big Dipper.

Uses? This Royal Sword was used only for royal rituals and was in existence only in Joseon Dynasty and believed to have no equivalent in China or Japan.

2nd Floor: History, Prehistory, Korean History, Jades

yonsei-university-museumAn old calculator being used at Yonsei University
yonsei-university-museumStone implements of pre-history settlers in Korea
yonsei-university-museumStone axes and adzes
yonsei-university-museumJaw and mouthparts of deers with various ages caught by early settlers
yonsei-university-museumParts of a human skull, stone tools, animal bone tools, antler, etc.
yonsei-university-museumShell bracelets, sewing tools, and needles, etc.

3rd Floor: Pottery Artifacts, Museum Office

yonsei-university-museumJars with horn-shaped handles - Samhan Period, 1st Century BC
Round-shaped coffin made during the Baekje PeriodRound-shaped coffin made during the Baekje Period

Chinese jades

yonsei-university-museumJade carved animals
yonsei-university-museumA contemplative man inside a cave
yonsei-university-museumJade container carved with a fish
yonsei-university-museumOffice tools made from jade of various colors
yonsei-university-museum-jadesA green jade carved like a Ram

More Exhibitions

You can see more exhibitions related to the history of Yonsei's original background as well as the people responsible for the establishment of this University. (Updates will be here soon!)

Gwanghyewon (reconstruction)
Sugyongwon (T-shaped house for sacrifice before a Royal Tomb, Monument house)
Underwood Family Memorial House

Business Hours
Open: Monday to Saturday, 9:30 AM to 5 PM
Closed: Holidays, Sundays, February/August Saturdays

yonsei-universityEntrance to the memorial park
yonsei-universityA Three-Story Pagoda. A pagoda was usually built to contain the remains ('sari') of a holy Buddhist monk.
yonsei-universityT-shaped house for sacrifice before the royal tomb. Inside this structure, you will find items related to Queen Yongbin

Getting to Yonsei University Museum

Being at the heart of Seoul, reaching Yonsei University is quite easy via public transports.

Get there by taking a subway, bus, or taxi.

Seoul Subway
Take Seoul Subway Line 2 and get off at Sinchon Station. Come out from Exit 2 and walk towards Yonsei for about 5 minutes.

You can take any of the following buses if available or close to your point of departure.

Blue Bus:    153, 163, 171, 272, 470, 601, 606, 672, 673, 700, 707, 710, 750A, 750B, 751
Green Bus: 6714, 7737
Red Bus: 9714, M6724, M7106, M7111, M7119

Airport Bus: 6011

Find out more buses at this link .

Address: Yonsei University 50 Yonsei-ro, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul 03722, Republic of Korea

Thanks for reading this short article on Yonsei University's Museum. I hope you find this useful. Enjoy your visit!

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