In my travels I’ve been to many different museums. I try to stop in at every museum I can, because I believe in the value of learning about history. One of the best museums I’ve ever visited was the Bank of Korea Museum in Seoul, South Korea. Even the building has an interesting history.
Designed by Tatsuno Kingo, who also designed the Bank of Korea and Tokyo Station buildings in Japan, the Bank of Korea Museum is a refreshing break from all of the glass and steel in downtown Seoul.
A designated National Historic Site, and designed somewhat like a French chateau and made entirely out of granite, the museum looks quite out of place surrounded by all of the massive, modern downtown glass and steel skyscrapers. Even more interestingly, it was actually designed by a famed Japanese architect during the Japanese occupation of Korea in 1912, and was the home of the (Japanese) central bank of Korea during the Occupation.
The Chinese used to have a number of small coins held together by a cord to represent their wealth. This could get quite heavy to carry around, and so one clever banker came up with the idea of holding onto the coins and giving the owner a bank note that was essentially an I.O.U. guaranteeing the return of the coins upon the return of the bank note. This is a copy of the world’s first bank note.
Inside is contained one of the most comprehensive “money museums” (as I like to call them) that I’ve ever seen. Collections of bills from every major country in the world are contained inside, as well as an image of the very first bank note in history. For fun, you can even create your own ancient coins (sort of).When Korean bank notes are discarded, they’re shredded up and turned into sound insulation for cars. Did you know that? Before I went to the Bank of Korea Museum I didn’t know that either.
If you’re at all interested in history or learning about life at all, make sure you take the time to visit the Bank of Korea Museum in Seoul, South Korea the next time you’re there.
Location: Namdaemunno 3(sam)-ga, Jung–gu, Seoul
Entry Fee: Free