Busan offers plenty of things to do during a trip to the astonishing South Korean city. Busan isn’t all beaches and seafood. In fact, the city boasts a nice variety of museums and art galleries, where you can discover a wealth of artifacts and exhibitions. Continue reading to explore some of the best museums in Busan, South Korea.
Best Museums in Busan
1. Busan Museum of Art
One of the best museums in Busan is the Busan Museum of Art which first opened its doors in 1998. Located near the BEXCO exhibition center, it encompasses more than 21,000 square meters and features an array of exhibition halls, an open-air sculpture park, educational research rooms, and an onsite children’s museum. Having won the gold prize of architecture from the city of Busan in 2000, the building itself is also a work of art. Rotating exhibits have highlighted works by Kim Chong-Hak as well as other Korean contemporary artists from around the country.
2. Gyeongju National Museum
Learn about the history of the city at Gyeongju National Museum, largely dedicated to the time when Gyeongju served as the capital of the Silla Kingdom (57 BCE-935 CE). The museum exhibits around 3,000 artifacts from the era, including earthenware pots, golden crowns, belts, earrings, and weaponry. Along the way, you’ll gain insight into the culture that made the fine artifacts on display, their funereal rites, the system of governance, beliefs, and lifestyle.
An outdoor exhibit area showcases facades from royal palaces and temples, as well as giant temple bells. Put Gyeongju National Museum and other Gyeongju attractions into our Gyeongju day trip planning site, and watch your holiday take shape.
3. Busan Museum
Housing a wealth of relics obtained through numerous excavation efforts and private donations, the Busan Museum has taken on a leading role in preserving the city’s traditional culture. The wide array of artifacts, which are distributed across seven exhibition rooms and three floors, illustrate the city’s history from as early as the prehistoric era to the present day.
Don’t miss the Buddhist statues and pagodas at the Outdoor Exhibition Stall, and be sure to stop by the Cultural Experience Hall to participate in a Korean tea ceremony or try on a hanbok, the country’s national dress.
4. National Maritime Museum
As Busan is the largest port city in South Korea and the world’s fifth busiest seaport by cargo tonnage, it’s easy to recognize why the sea is so important to the city’s citizens. The exhibitions at the National Maritime Museum illustrate all aspects of marine and ocean life, from the creatures of the sea to the history of the city’s maritime industry.
The museum also boasts a library, aquarium, performance stage, and a 4D theatre, offering something for all ages. It is easily accessed via the free shuttle that runs from Busan Station.
5. Busan Modern History Museum
The Busan Modern History Museum is a museum in Busan, South Korea.
The building was originally constructed during the Japanese occupation of Korea for the Oriental Development Company an organization used to support the Japanese colonization of Korea. Following the liberation of Korea in 1945, it was later used as the United States Information Service and was the site of the Busan American Cultural Service building arson during student protests in 1982.
6. Busan Trick Eye Museum
An Instagram lover’s dream, the family-friendly Busan Trick Eye Museum allows visitors to become part of the art that is on display. Here, an optical technique called trompe l’oeil (which translates to “deceives the eye”) is applied to world-renowned artworks, creating the illusion that the objects in the pictures appear to be in 3D. Be sure to end your visit by crafting your own original souvenir (called “Art Toy”) or animal-shaped candle to take home with you.
7. Bokcheon Museum
Opened in 1996, the Bokcheon Museum shows visitors the history and traditional cultures of Busan which make the city unique, including various aspects of Gaya cultures. Among the exhibitions here, you’ll find hundreds of pieces of relics that were excavated from the Bokcheondong Ancient Tombs. The museum prides itself on being a place that continues research on this ancient area and educates the general public about the history of the Gaya Kingdom.
8. Jangsaengpo Whale Museum
Jangsaengpo Whale Museum is a history museum located in Jangsaengpo, Nam-gu, Ulsan, South Korea. It is the only whale museum in South Korea. The museum details Ulsan’s history of whaling. Whaling was banned in South Korea in 1986, but whaling artifacts were kept and are now on display in the museum which is built in what was once a central whaling area.
It has 6,946 square meters (74,770 square feet) of floor space and includes a dolphinarium where visitors can watch dolphin acrobatic performances and a 4D theatre.