Gongju National Museum: Peer Inside Ancient Tombs

The Gongju National Museum is one of the museums that I enjoyed the most in Korea so far. It displays many stories and artifacts of the area that I live in (Chungcheognam-do). Plus, you can visit the tombs of kings from the Three Kingdoms Period!

Exhibitions at Gongju National Museum

There are three main exhibitions at the Gongju National Museum. Two inside the museum, and one outdoor exhibition. 

Prehistoric and Ancient Culture of Chungcheongnam-do

The first exhibition at Gongju National Museum shows the province of Chungcheongnam-do since the beginning of its inhabitance. You can find many artifacts in this exhibition, with very detailed explanations of how and where they were found.

There are artifacts dating back to prehistoric times (Paleolithic through the Neolithic Period and Iron Age). These items helped historians understand the importance of the province to the development of civilization on the Korean Peninsula.

The artifacts being exhibited in this hall were collected from different areas of the province. The exhibition even shows how important it was for cultural exchange with other nations. Early on in its history, evidence of trade with different regions of China and Japan can be found.

It also showcases the excavated relics from the tumulus of Songsan-ri and Gongsanseong Fortress, which I previously wrote about here. This gives the idea of how the upper class and royal family of Baekje used to live.

Ungjin Baekje Hall

The second exhibition and my personal favorite is King Muryeong hall. I talked in detail about King Muryong in this article.

However, as a quick rundown, he was the 25th king of the Baekje Kingdom (501-523). And while he was important alive, as he helped develop relations with other nations, his tomb, alongside his wife, helped us understand many mysteries about the Baekje Kingdom.

The tomb was discovered not long ago (1971). It was hidden within a large mound in Gongju (right next to the museum). Because it was so well preserved, it was possible to retrieve around 4600 artifacts from the tomb. 

The king and queen were buried in wooden coffins. Not only were the wooden coffins and the rulers’ remains intact, but ornaments and artifacts were found underneath. The original head and footrests of the coffin, as well as replicas of the coffins themselves, are displayed in the museum.

This is an incredible exhibition. Being able to see everything that was inside a tomb right next to the original site was an experience that I will keep with me.

Outdoor Exhibition

The third exhibition is located outdoors. It shows stone artifacts that were found around the city of Gongju. From pagodas and stone-standing Buddhas, to tomb protection ornaments, you can get a look at a collection from the province right in front of the museum.

Don’t forget to walk on the path outside the museum to check out the real tombs in which many artifacts were found!

Location and Hours

Gongju National Museum (국립공주박물관)

Address: 34 Gwangwangdanji-gil, Gongju-si, Chungcheongnam-do
Korean address: 충남 공주시 관광단지길 34 국립공주박물관
Operating Hours: 09:00 AM - 06:00 PM
Closed: Mondays, Public Holidays

You can check the schedule here. Mondays are closed, except on holidays, and admission to the museum is free!

🇧🇷 Dani Quintana

Hello ~~ I'm Dani, a Brazilian student living in the countryside of South Korea. I'm happy to be sharing any fun experience here and I hope to be helping other people to find exciting activities around SK!