Ilmin Museum of Art

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Ilmin Museum of Art
Korean name
Hangul 일민미술관
Hanja 美術館
Revised Romanization Ilmin Misulgwan
McCune–Reischauer Ilmin Misulgwan
Ilmin Museum of Art.jpg
Established December, 1996
Location 139 Sejongno, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Type art museum
Collection size 1730 artifacts and 250 films
650 m2 (7,000 sq ft)

Ilmin Museum of Art is a private art museum of South Korea, located on Sejongno street in Jongno-gu, a central district of Seoul, known for exhibiting mainly Korean art.[1] The museum was established and run by the Ilmin Cultural Foundation (일민문화재단), a non-profit organization founded in 1994 in memory of Kim Sang-man (김상만 1910 ~ 1994), former president of Dong-A Ilbo,[2] one of the major newspaper companies of South Korea. Kim devoted his entire life to developing Korean journalism and promoting Korean culture.[1][3] The museum is named after his pen name, "Ilmin" (일민 , literally "one people").

On December, 1996, the museum opened as Ilmin Art Hall[1] with 3 exhibition rooms in Dong-a Ilbo's previous location, built in 1926.[2] The museum is based on the art collection of Ilmin acquired during his time.[4] After undergoing a one-year renovation, the museum reopened on February, 2002. The building has five stories and the 650 m² facility. Ilmin Museum of Art also runs the only documentary archive of South Korea.[3]


Gwanghwamun Postal Office, Ilmin Museum of Art, Dong-A Media Center in 2002

The Ilmin Museum of Art is situated at 139 Sejongno (Sejong Avenue) in Jongno-gu, the center of political, economic, cultural and artistic life of Korea since the Joseon dynasty when Seoul was established as the capital city. Representative examples of Joseon period architecture which has remained in place near the museum include Gyeongbok Palace, Deoksu Palace, and Gwanghwamun Gate.[5] Current governmental and embassy buildings, and major museums and galleries like Seoul City Hall, Ministry of Culture and Tourism and Sejong Center are also near the museum.[6][7] In addition, the Ilmin Museum of Art is located on Sejongno alongside the Dong-a Media Center which is the current building for Dong-a Ilbo[8] and hosts Presseum, South Korea's first newspaper museum.[9][10][11] It is served by Seoul Subway's City Hall Station on Line 1 and Line 2 and Gwanghwamun Station on Line 5. The museum is within 5 minutes walking distance from the subway stations.[3]

Building and venues[edit]

Ilmin Museum of Art entrance in 2012

The building is located at the southern end of Gwanghwamun Plaza on Sejong-ro in Jung-gu, the Ilmin Museum of Art, like the Seoul Museum of Art, has preserved the appearance of the old building that distinguishes it visually from the neighboring tall, modern buildings in the urban area.[4] The five-story brown stone building is the former Dong-a Ilbo newspaper building, and is the oldest press building in Korea.[12]

The museum consists of two large exhibition halls and Ilmin collections.[1] On the first and second floors special exhibitions are mainly held and on the third floor, viewers can view art works of the Ilmin Collection once possessed by Kim Sang-man.[4] The Ilmin Collection contains over 430 art pieces, consisting of Korean porcelains, paintings and calligraphy from the Goryeo and Joseon dynasty. The collection entrusted by Dong-a Ilbo houses over 1200 paintings and illustrations published in the newspaper and magazines such as Dong-a Ilbo, Shin Dong-a (신동아) and Women Dong-a (여성동아). The museum also possesses a contemporary art collection consisting of 100 art works with social messages, showing the Ilmin Museum of Art's function as a museum of contemporary art.[1] The museum introduces contemporary art to the public through various media including painting, photography, video art and installation art.[2]

Since the 2002 renovation, the Ilmin Museum of Art has run the only documentary archive in South Korea consisting of documentary films and video art which exhibits its collection to the public. The documentary archive is situated on the fourth floor where, with a reservation, visitors can view high quality documentary films and video art. The collection currently consists of 200 documentary films and 50 pieces of video art made by South Korean or international artists.[13]

The museum also runs a popular cafe named iMA on the first floor where people can enjoy American style brunch and waffle.[4]


The Ilmin Museum of Art publishes Ilmin Visual Culture (일민시각문화) on visual art theories.[3] The Ilmin Museum of Art also presents the Ilmin Art Award (일민문화상) and the Ilmin Fellowship to support artistic and cultural professionals, and academic research. Notable recipients of Ilmin Art Award include pianist-conductor Myung-Whun Chung, film director Im Kwon-taek and Yoon Hojin (윤호진), director of the musical, Empress Myeongseong.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Ilmin Museum of Art". Jongno-gu Official website. Archived from the original on 2004-08-26. Retrieved 2008-04-29. 
  2. ^ a b c 일민미술관 一民美術館 (in Korean). Doosan Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2008-04-26. 
  3. ^ a b c d "introduction to the ilmin museum of art" (in Korean and English). Official website of the Ilmin museum of art. Archived from the original on 2008-04-10. Retrieved 2008-04-26. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Trip to museums" (in Korean). Yonsei School of Business Newsletter. Retrieved 2008-04-28. 
  5. ^ "About Jongno-gu > Region" (in Korean). Jongno-gu official site. Archived from the original on 2004-08-05. Retrieved 2008-05-04. 
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-01-23. Retrieved 2008-05-04.  Map of Ilmin Museum of Art
  7. ^ "세종로 (Sejongno 世宗路)" (in Korean). Doosan Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2008-05-04. 도로변에는 광화문·경복궁(사적 117)·국립민속박물관이 자리하고, 도로 양옆에는 정부종합청사와 서울특별시 지방경찰청 등의 정부 주요기관과 세종문화회관·광화문전화국·에너지관리공단·종로소방서·종로구청 등의 공공기관, 미국·오스트리아·네덜란드·핀란드 등의 대사관이 있다. 그밖에 세종로공원과 현대해상화재·삼양빌딩·교보빌딩 등이 있다. 
  8. ^ "renovation" (in English and Korean). Ilmin Museum of Art official website. Archived from the original on 2008-01-04. Retrieved 2008-05-04. the restoration of the historic aspects of this building emerged as a main topic surrounding its renovation, as the opening of the Dong-a Media Center next to the museum was due in 2000. 
  9. ^ "Introduction about Presseum (신문박물관 소개)" (in English and Korean). The Presseum official website. Retrieved 2008-05-04. 
  10. ^ 신문박물관 新聞博物館 (in Korean). Doosan Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2008-05-04. 동아일보사(주)가 세운 국내 첫 신문박물관. (translation) The first newspaper history museum of South Korea founded by Dong-a Ilbo 
  11. ^ 신문박물관
  12. ^ "Ilmin Museum of Art". Korea Tourism Organization. Retrieved 29 January 2013. 
  13. ^ "Documentary Archive (다큐멘타리 아카이브)" (in Korean). the lmin museum of art. Archived from the original on August 17, 2005. Retrieved 2008-04-26. 
  14. ^ "ilmin culture award (일민문화상)" (in Korean). Ilimin Museum of Art. Archived from the original on 2008-04-10. Retrieved 2008-04-29. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 37°34′12″N 126°58′39″E / 37.5699°N 126.9775°E / 37.5699; 126.9775