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Museums open up for Chuseok: The annual harvest celebration is a chance to learn traditional arts and crafts

Sept 22,2018
Professional and contemporary dancers get together to perform at the National Museum of Korea in central Seoul. [NATIONAL MUSEUM OF KOREA]
A pungmul nori (Korean folk music performance) is taking place in front of the National Folk Museum of Korea in central Seoul. [NATIONAL FOLK MUSEUM OF KOREA]
The cooler weather is back, and so is Chuseok, Korea’s harvest holiday. The holiday is a time of giving, gathering and sharing moments with family and friends.

This year’s Chuseok spans over a period of five days, beginning on Sept. 22 and ending on Sept. 26. In celebration of the extra time that families have, museums have come together to organize exhibitions that will ensure fun for all.

The following are museums in Seoul that are planning Chuseok-themed exhibitions for all to enjoy.

National Museum of Korea

The National Museum of Korea, located in Yongsan district, central Seoul, is organizing a dance production called “Dood Rock” in celebration of Chuseok. Dancers will be performing traditional masked and comedy acts. The highlight of the festival will be the traditional dance pieces that will be performed to K-pop melodies. Folk dances like the seungmu (the dance of a Buddhist nun) and the beobgo (a traditional Buddhist ceremony where a monk is required to play a Buddhist drum) will provide a refreshing experience for visitors. The combination of traditional dance and contemporary melodies are organized to appeal to a large audience. This way grandparents and their grandchildren can all enjoy the experience whilst learning about traditional folk dances that they may have never seen before.

“Dood Rock”

Date: Sept. 25 at 3:00 p.m.

Location: National Museum of Korea Open Plaza

Fee: Free

National Hangeul Museum

On Sept. 26, the National Hangeul Museum, located in front of the National Museum of Korea, is holding “The Past, Present and Future of Hangeul - Through Gayageum Music,” a traditional musical performance that explains the modifications made to Korean language and music over time. The changes will be explained while gayageum (the traditional Korean zither) music is played in the background.

The National Hangeul Museum announced that they will put on two performances that day.

“The Past, Present and Future of Hangeul - Through Gayageum Music”

Date: Sept. 26 2:00 p.m. & 4:00 p.m.

Location: The National Hangeul Museum Auditorium

Fee: Free

National Folk Museum of Korea

The National Folk Museum of Korea (NFMK), located in Jongno district, central Seoul, will be using the whole museum to host the “2018 NFMK Bountiful Harvest Celebration.” Unlike other museums, the NFMK will provide festivalgoers a chance to participate in traditional Chuseok traditions. Booths will be open for participants to create their own songpyeon (moon-shaped rice cakes), send postcards, create stuffed falcon dolls and write down their wishes with a professional calligrapher. However, some booths’ activities such as rubber shoe-making will require an 8,000 won ($7.15) fee.

The festival will also include presentations of traditional performances that take place during Chuseok, like ganggangsullae (a female-centered ring dance performed on the night of Chuseok), pungmul nori (Korean folk music tradition that includes drumming, dancing and singing along to the harmony of traditional Korean instruments) and kkokdugaksi noreum (a traditional Korean puppet show.) Only the kkokdugaksi noreum will be available to festivalgoers on both days.

“2018 NFMK Bountiful Harvest Celebration.”

Date: Sept. 25 to Sept. 26

Location: The National Folk Museum of Korea

Fee: Free, but some booths will require a fee of up to 8,000 won

The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art

The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA) Deoksugung in Jung District, central Seoul, Gwacheon in Gyeonggi and Seoul in Jongno District, central Seoul, will be offering special benefits to museumgoers who download the MMCA app from Sept. 24 to Sept. 26. Once the app is downloaded, users are presented with a MMCA fortune cookie. The fortune cookie has a variety of benefits like discounts on membership fees and free souvenirs. Downloading the app is free and admission to the museums will also be free at Deoksugung and Gwacheon from Sept. 24 to Sept. 26, and at Seoul from Sept. 25 to Sept. 26.

“MMCA Fortune Cookie”

Date: Sept. 24 to Sept. 26

Location: The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Deoksugung, Gwacheon and Seoul

Fee: Free

BY JEONG JU-WON [jeong.juwon@joongang.co.kr]