Agricultural Museum Recalls the Big Role Occupied by Farming

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Agricultural Museum Recalls the Big Role Occupied by Farming

Nowadays, if the national harvest happened to be insufficient, it would always be possible to import agricultural products. However, 20 to 30 years ago when Korea was more of an agrarian-based culture, this was not the case and farming played a much more significant role in the survival and maintenance of Korean society.

The importance of this heritage is recognized in the Agricultural Museum, a three-story building covering 1,700 square meters. Opened in 1987, the museum houses over 2,400 artifacts in exhibition halls such as the Pre-historic Room, the Three Kingdoms Room, the Koryo-Chosun Periods Room, the Farmer's Almanac Room, the Cooperative Farming Room and the Agricultural Living Room.

Visitors can take a look at early agricultural tools including sickles, hoes, digging plows called Ttabi and winnows that were once widely used. Household goods such as spinning wheels, stoves and raincoats made of straw are also on display.

Some of the rare exhibits include burned grains of rice and millet dating back to the Bronze Age and a record of the amount of precipitation measured by a rain gauge between 1771 and 1870. In the Agricultural Living Room on the third floor visitors can even see various kimchi displays and learn how the side dish is traditionally prepared.

Located next to the National Agricultural Cooperative Federation building in Chungjeong-ro, the museum is a three-minute walk from exit 5 of Seodaemun station on Line 5. With more than 2,000 visitors a day, the museum is a good place for children to participate in educational programs such as folk literature readings and art workshops.

Past workshops have covered a variety of interesting topics including how to make kites and fans.

Starting Friday from 1 to 5 p.m., the museum will offer a class on how to make traditional shoes and rope from straw. This class will be held exclusively for elementary school students and their parents.

Jeon Seong-im, a scholar of straw craft, will lecture on straw shoes and the importance of healthy feet. Kim Eung-gyu of the agricultural museum said, "In the old days, straw was used for thatch, shoes called jipsin, rope as well as to feed cattle. This class offers a chance to learn the uses of straw as well as how farmers occupied themselves during winter."

The cost is 10,000 won ($8) although entrance into the museum itself is free. It is open every day except on public holidays from 9:30 a.m to 5 p.m. For more information, call 02-397-5675-7.

by Park So-young

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