This past Saturday, I visited the Bank of Korea Museum. I didn’t realize it was in Myungdong (even though I looked at a map of how to get there), so I was a bit surprised to find myself amongst crowds of shoppers as I made my way to the museum. Surprise aside, it was a pleasant walk since it wasn’t too hot out, and there was a nice fountain just across from the museum entrance as well as a view of Namsan Tower (otherwise known as Seoul Tower).
The museum has two floors, which cover the history of Korea’s central bank and national currency (Won) and showcase a huge variety of currencies used worldwide.
The reason I went to this somewhat boring museum was to see if there was any information about my great-grandfather, 배의환 (Eui Whan Pai), who served as Governor from June to September of 1960. The last time I was in Korea, five summers ago, my dad, sister, cousin, and I visited the museum on a rainy day and found an interactive display that shared information on past Governors of the Bank of Korea. It included a page on my great-grandfather, which we of course posed with and snapped photos of. I’ll update this post with a couple of those pictures when I find them.
Anyways, I was kind of hoping to find something a little like that this time around, but the only thing I found was his signature (still very cool!).
I got to see lots of different types of currency, both old and new, which was really fun. I made sure to check out samples of Turkish, Croatian, and Czech money, as I am hoping to travel to (at least one of) those places in the near future (i.e. during my 10 weeks in Rome!). I’m in the midst of planning my dream trip now…
There were lots of old North and South Korean banknotes as well, pictured below!
Old South Korean currency
Old North Korean currency
North Korean currency
All in all, a good trip to the museum! If you like (looking at specimens of) money, I’d definitely recommend it.
Old special-edition American currency
Bank of Korea Museum
110, 3-ga, Namdaemun-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul, Korea
Subway: City Hall station, Exit 7 (Line 1/dark blue line, Line 2/green line); Uljiro 1-ga station, Exit 7 (Line 2/green line); Hwehyeon station, Exit 7 (Line 4/light blue line)