‘군산 3·1운동 100주년 기념관’ is a museum dedicated to the first movement of independence. Where everyone who wants to learn about Korea’s past, must definitely go.
Since there, you can learn about this important part of history in an interactive and fun way. Plus understand more about the culture and the proudness that Koreans feel regards their country.
Now, let us introduce you in depth about this museum!
The first movement of independence in Gunsan
What is the meaning of the 3.1 movement?
After Korea was forcibly taken by the Japanese in 1910, the Korean army and soldiers protested against Japan’s unjust invasion. And launched independence movements throughout the country.
The March 1st movement was one of these public displays. Where 33 activists gathered at the Taehwagwan restaurant in Seoul and read out loud the korean Declaration of Independence. Which angered the Japanese. Who suppressed them in a violent way. And turned that day in to a bloody one.
Since history is something that should not be forgotten, it became a national holiday. To keep the painful memories alive. And to not ignore what the Koreans had to go through during that period. It is a day to think of the heroes as well. Plus look back on how Koreans became one when it was about defending what it is theirs.
What happened in Gunsan?
In Gunsan, the movement started on February 28, 1919. When Kim Byung-soo (김병수) ㅡ a graduate of Gunsan Yeongmyeong school ㅡ received about 200 ‘Declaration of independence’ from Lee Gap-sung (이갑성) ㅡ one of the 33 national representatives ㅡ. And delivered it to Yeongmyeong School teachers Park Yeong-se (박연세) and Lee Doo-yeol (이두열).
In the school dormitory, the government decided to secretly start the process of creating 3,500 copies of the Declaration of Independence. And also made hundreds of korean flags to hold in the protest that was going to happen on March 6.
While Japanese police kept suppressing the students and the people who participated in, the civil protests continued in Gunsan from March 5 to May, with 28 in total. Which left a big scar due to of what they had to pass through. And all the spilled blood.
First floor ㅡ Memorial archives
The first thing that you will notice at the entrance, is the Gunsan stamp tour table. Where in the map, you can put the stamp as a proof that you have visited this place.
And as soon as you enter, you will come across with a shelve full of flyers. Which show you information about different tourist spots.
It is important to mention that when you are over, you can go to the counter and ask for free postcards. As they hand them out to the people that visit or publish them on SNS.
In the first floor you can learn about the past of Gunsan. How was it in the old days, and what was the role of the city during the Japanese rule.
They also have models of some important buildings from the city. For example, the Yeongmyeong School. Where some of the preparations for the independence movement were done.
And of course, they have a map of how the city used to look back then.
One of them is interactive. Which means that if you want to know where a specific place was, you can click the red button and it will show you the location.
Traces of war
You can learn about the representatives of the first movement of independence as well. And see how the weapons and uniforms of the soldiers looked like.
But what I like the most of what it is displayed at the first floor, it is that they have a big print that explains about the first movement of independence in Gunsan.
It is worth to mention that in this museum they do exhibitions as well. Because of this, you can come across with some pictures that are from a different topic. For example, when I went it was about South Korea’s division and conflict. And how they believed that North Korea works as a soviet puppet.
Memorial of the first movement of independence
Before going to the exit, you will find pictures that explain how people commemorate this day.
And the way they do it, is by marching to recreate the situation of that day, with a korean flag on their hands. Commemorative services, writing, drawing competitions and historical photography exhibitions are held in Guam Church as well.
Second floor ㅡ The replica of history
Story telling and missions
When you get to the second floor it starts to get interactive. Since they have some missions that you can accomplish to learn about the history in a fun way. And they have some boxes like the one showed below. Where by clicking it, you will hear through the speakers a recreation of that day. And some other events that happened in that period.
Back in time to the old Gunsan
We can say that the second floor is a historic reenactment room. Where people can feel the spirit of patriotism and love to their country.
There, they have some replicas and photo zones as well. To make you feel immerse in the history.
So as many examples of how things used to look back then.
And of course, photos of how Gunsan used to look. Which along the audio that explain the history, let you to imagine how the events happened.
But what I liked the most were the replicas of the Declaration of Independence and the flag of South Korea. Since it looks eye catching. And makes you think about everything they had to go through before reaching freedom.
They also display a stamp of the Korean flag and the Declaration of Independence.
So as accessories that belonged to some of the heroes of the March 1st movement.
Making it clear that this museum is in fact dedicated to the first movement of independence.
Third floor ㅡ Immersion education
A good way to learn about history, is in fact through immersion education. Specially if the one who needs to learn about is a child. Because of this, the third floor is dedicated to teach kids about the past of their country in a fun way.
As soon as you reach the third floor, there is a theater to show about the importance of this day in an interactive way. However, due to COVID it is closed.
In this era of technology, a great way to teach kids about Japanese colonial rule is definitely through games.
That is the reason to why there are video games at that floor. Which are not only fun for kids, but also for adults. Me, as a foreigner that does not know about the history in depth, it was a good way to learn some new facts.
In one of these, you must go as fast as you can in your bicycle to escape from the Japanese and reach your compatriots.
While in other, you need to answer a quiz until completing the whole map.
There are also classic games like this one, where you need to assemble the pieces to create the flag.
If you want to get a memory of that place, it is a good idea to try this. Since here, you can put a stamp of the Korean flag in a paper. Which you can later keep it.
There is a photo zone as well. Where you take a Korean flag as well. To pose with it and get a nice picture.
The highlight is for sure the mural of the movement of independence. As the passion and courage of the illustrated characters is contagious.
But the most interesting one is the one that it is at the back. Since there is a old camera that takes the photo for you.
And then, the museum send it to you through mail. Is not it awesome? You are getting an official memory for free.
No matter where you look at, you can see that everything it is related to the first movement of independence, since it is a museum dedicated to it.
You will come across with some commemorative plaques. In one of them, you can even read about the Declaration of Independence.
And if you go at the back of the museum, you will find these stairs. Which have the Korean flag painted.
And lead you to the commemorative statue. Where you can see the heroes of the first movement of independence.
So if you are interested in the history of South Korea, I recommend you to read what it is written in the statue. As it is the summary of what happened during the first movement of independence in Gunsan.
This place is located in Gunsan, North Jeolla Province.
A good way to learn about Korea’s history is for sure coming to this museum dedicated to the first movement of independence. As you will learn some of the most significant and important facts of their past.
If you had already gone, what are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments!
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