The Korea Herald

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소아쌤

National museums surpass 10 million visitors

By Choi Si-young

Published : Jan. 4, 2024 - 17:58

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A gallerygoer views works on display in a special exhibition at the National Museum of Korea showcasing 52 paintings from the National Gallery in London. (National Museum of Korea) A gallerygoer views works on display in a special exhibition at the National Museum of Korea showcasing 52 paintings from the National Gallery in London. (National Museum of Korea)

The National Museum of Korea and its 13 regional museums across the country attracted 10,471,154 visitors combined last year, breaking through the barrier of 10 million for the first time.

According to the state-run institution on Thursday, the number of visitors rose 17.1 percent on-year, exceeding the previous record of 9,980,837 in 2019.

NMK officials attribute the surge to special exhibitions regularly held at museums, citing in particular collections donated by the late Samsung Group Chairman Lee Kun-hee, a prolific collector of Korean and contemporary art.

“Both the Daegu National Museum and Cheongju National Museum saw at least a 30 percent jump in annual attendance in 2023,” a senior official at the National Museum of Korea said, referring to museums that exhibited Lee’s works.

Foreign visitors also contributed to setting the new milestone, the official added, saying their attendance level at regional museums last year was up three times from a year prior.

The National Museum of Korea, located in central Seoul’s Yongsan, reported the highest number overall with 4,180,285, followed by the Gyeongju National Museum with 1,340,032, the Daegu National Museum with 805,883 and the Buyeo National Museum with 640,207.

“The 10 million mark is a testament to the fact that our museums are world-class,” said Yoon Sung-yong, director general of the National Museum of Korea.