The Korea Herald

ssg
소아쌤

National Museum of Korean Literature set to open doors in 2026

Culture Minister Yu pledges greater support for translation of literary works

By Hwang Dong-hee

Published : May 21, 2024 - 16:23

    • Link copied

Culture Minister Yu In-chon speaks during the groundbreaking ceremony for the National Museum of Korean Literature in Eunpyeong-gu, northern Seoul, Monday. (Culture Ministry) Culture Minister Yu In-chon speaks during the groundbreaking ceremony for the National Museum of Korean Literature in Eunpyeong-gu, northern Seoul, Monday. (Culture Ministry)

The National Museum of Korean Literature broke ground Monday at Gijachon Neighborhood Park, in Eunpyeong-gu, northern Seoul, five years after the plan for the museum was announced in 2019.

The museum, located in Jingwan-dong, Eunpyeong-gu, at the foot of Bukhansan National Park, will have a total floor area of 14,993 square meters and a site area of 13,248 square meters. The building with two underground floors and two above-ground floors is scheduled for completion in the second half of 2026. The budget for the project is set at 71.6 billion won ($12.9 million).

"The museum has long been an aspiration in the literary community. As the National Museum of Korean Literature breaks ground, I am extremely excited and thrilled. I cannot imagine how much more it means to writers and those in the literary community,” said Culture Minister Yu In-chon at the groundbreaking ceremony.

"Korea's status in culture and arts is about 80 percent there (cultural apex), and the main source of this power comes from literature. We will support much more translation into different languages so that our literary works can be read on the global stage," Yu said.

Poet Moon Chung-hee, director of the National Museum of Korean Literature, speaks during the groundbreaking ceremony for the National Museum of Korean Literature in Eunpyeong-gu, northern Seoul, on Monday. (Yonhap) Poet Moon Chung-hee, director of the National Museum of Korean Literature, speaks during the groundbreaking ceremony for the National Museum of Korean Literature in Eunpyeong-gu, northern Seoul, on Monday. (Yonhap)

Poet Moon Chung-hee, the incumbent director of the National Museum of Korean Literature, said, "Korean literature is a beautiful heritage that records the lives, thoughts and emotions of Korean people in the Korean language. It is the most essential force of the Korean spirit and culture, created through our breath and imagination.”

"We (the National Museum of Korean Literature) will be a robust nest so that Korean literature can soar and spread its wings in the world."

From left, Rep. Do Jong-hwan, Culture Minister Yu In-chon and director Moon Chung-hee attend the groundbreaking ceremony for the National Museum of Korean Literature in Eunpyeong-gu, northern Seoul, on Monday. (Yonhap) From left, Rep. Do Jong-hwan, Culture Minister Yu In-chon and director Moon Chung-hee attend the groundbreaking ceremony for the National Museum of Korean Literature in Eunpyeong-gu, northern Seoul, on Monday. (Yonhap)

Attendees at the groundbreaking ceremony included Democratic Party lawmaker Do Jong-hwan, a poet and former Culture Minister, who proposed the Literature Promotion Act in 2014, which became the basis for the museum, and Eunpyeong-gu Mayor Kim Mi-kyung.

The museum will feature permanent and special exhibition halls that will explore the past, present and future of Korean literature, along with outdoor gardens, educational and experiential spaces, a multipurpose auditorium and storage facilities.

A rendered image of the National Museum of Korean Literature (National Museum of Korean Literature) A rendered image of the National Museum of Korean Literature (National Museum of Korean Literature)

Lee Eun-seok, the architect who designed the museum, said, “We have emphasized horizontality and public nature in the design to reflect the characteristics of Korean literature, which are people-oriented and egalitarian. We designed the entire building inspired by traditional Korean villages.”

He added that special attention was given to the outdoor space to harmonize with the view of Bukhansan, designing the garden and the yard to be used effectively.

Culture Minister Yu In-chon, second from the left, speaks during a meeting on literature and translation held after the groundbreaking ceremony for the National Museum of Korean Literature in Eunpyeong-gu, northern Seoul, on Monday. (Yonhap) Culture Minister Yu In-chon, second from the left, speaks during a meeting on literature and translation held after the groundbreaking ceremony for the National Museum of Korean Literature in Eunpyeong-gu, northern Seoul, on Monday. (Yonhap)

Following the groundbreaking ceremony, Yu held a meeting with literary figures at the Eunpyeong History Hanok Museum to discuss the vision for the National Museum of Korean Literature, plans for its opening and exhibitions and strategies to support literature and translation.

Participants in the meeting included writers, agencies, publishers and representatives from literary organizations such as the Literature Translation Institute of Korea, the PEN Korean Center, the Korean Writers Association, the Society of Korean Poets, the Korean Modern Poets Association, Korea Artists Council and Korean Literature House Association.

They proposed further support for writers, translators and organizations and enhanced support for international promotion and translation of Korean literature.

"We will provide the initial resources and do what the government can do. We will shift the government's support paradigm to focus on larger-scale international ventures, leaving smaller individual support to local cultural foundations,” Yu said.