I thought that before I leave Korea, I should probably go see the War Museum, especially since lately I’ve been reading any book that I can find on the Korean War. So off, I went to the War Museum taking advantage of the extension to line 3 for the 10 days that I can.
It is an impressive building and landscape, a beautiful tribute to the men (and women) that have been affected by the wars in and around Korea, particularly the Korean War, as well as a fount of information of what it took in terms of manpower, weapons, blood, and tears.
The basement level was a bit boring for me because it was weapons from BC and early times in AD, which is the same that I’ve seen at the history museum, the folk museum, the science museum. Most of the museum is dedicated to the Korean Civil War, which really isn’t a surprise, considering how much it has affected modern South Korean society. Since I’ve been reading a lot lately, most of the information was new, but the little blurb about the number of student volunteers, most of which were high school students, it took a while for me to be okay. I mean really high school volunteers, what do you really expect them to do? walk around, make sure the doors are locked (figuratively speaking), not major, not like defending pockets of Seoul.
Something that I had to shake my head at is that even in the middle of a bloody civil war, with barely any food supplies, Korean parents are still worried about getting their kids into the best academic situations possible.
There was a five minute presentation of what it was like to be at war during the night, it was loud, there were explosion-like sounds and flashes, screaming, shouting, and all of the teeny tiny elementary kids were scared out of their minds. It was nice, but it was a bit unnerving to hear all that commotion and to know that was only a small fraction of what the actual soldiers experienced.
There were some beautiful scultures and paintings all around the museum by Korean artists showcasing different military heroes and (in)famous scenes. Of course the part of the museum that interested me, the display on the different branches of the Korean military was closed down for maintenance, but the replicas of the different memorials around Korea was a decent substitute, as was writing the logistical information about each participating country in its national language.
It’s free and quite an education. So why wouldn’t you go? To get there get off at Samgakji (Line 4 and Line 6), exit 12. Walk for about 5 minutes and it will be on your left hand side.