If you’ve been an Inspire Me Korea subscriber since last year, you’d have probably read about the October issue of the history of Hangeul and how it came to be. However, if you missed that edition fret not! You can always scroll back in our website to have a full read on the history. But if you’re a little lazy, then we’ll give you a historic summary!
Hangeul is the official Korean writing system which was made by the Great King Sejong. Before Hangeul, the written language used was Chinese (hanja) however, only those in government power and the royals were taught how to write the characters. King Sejong who loved all of his people no matter the social status, wanted for all to be able to write. He, along with his advisers, invented the Korean writing language called, Hangeul. Hangeul letters were composed through how the mouth, tongue and lips are shaped when making the consonant sounds and the vowel sounds. The idea of writing the letters may seem simplistic but historians claim that no other writing system is alike Hangeul and is one of a kind.
There is of course more to the history and composition of Hangeul. If you ever find yourself in the Land of the Morning Calm, take a visit to the National Hangeul Museum where you can find all that you need to learn and know about Hangeul!
Tourists say that they can get lost whilst visiting the Hangeul Museum and a plus is that there is no admission fee! Although not all the displays and exhibits have English translations, don’t let that stop you from just enjoying and basking in the rich history of the Korean writing system.
The museum itself is an amazing mix of modern technology showcasing tradition and history that you can explore with your 3 senses: eyes, ears and mouth.
On the first floor you can find the Hangeul Library. The library has books related to script and language designed to share the linguistic value of Hangeul to the public. Visitors can also check out books about culture, arts and children’s stories.
The second and third floor composes more of the Hangeul exhibits where both Korean locals and overseas visitors can appreciate. It ranges from the historical aspect of the writing system to the modern application in today’s Korea.
Permanent Exhibition Hall (2F) – This exhibition takes up the entire second floor and the hall showcases the historical and modern value of Hangeul, from its invention down to the present use of the writing system. The exhibited items are carefully selected and presented to help visitors understand the various uses of Hangeul in communication, education, religion, art, publication, and technology.
Special Exhibition Hall (3F) – With this exhibition hall, through artefacts and artworks from the past and the recent, the exhibitions unveil the fascinating history of Hangeul and explore its countless innovation in today’s rapidly changing world.
Hangeul Activity Hall (3F) – This hall is mainly for children but should beginner foreign learners come, it is also a good place to learn the basics of Hangeul and how to express themselves in Hangeul through easy but interactive fun.
Hangeul Discovery Hall (3F) – This hall can help foreign visitors to further their understanding of Hangeul through modern technology. It includes exhibitions and learning experiences, one of which includes a phonetic exhibit which can help master the correct pronunciation of the vowels and consonants.
The museum also offers facilities for all, mothers of infants are given a nursing room for when they need to give their attention to their babies and wheelchairs and strollers are available for hire so that disabled or younger children can also access the whole museum. If you’re also feeling peckish, food and drinks are available in the museum café along with the shop if you ever want to buy souvenirs or memorabilia.
To get to the National Hangeul Museum, it is right next to the National Museum of Korea via Line 4, Ichon Station and is also accessible via Blue Bus with numbers 400 and 502. The museum is also part of the Hop on, Hop Off Seoul City Tour Bus package.
So whether you’re new to Hangeul or have been learning the language for years, we highly recommend that you still visit the museum to truly immerse yourself in the historical and modern adventure of the unique writing system of Korea!
Featured Image Source: ©National Hangeul Museum, Seoul Metropolitan Government, 14.08.2017, http://english.visitseoul.net/attractions/National-Hangeul-Museum_/20600