It’s a bit of a jolt to visit hereI was shocked. Having just taken my turn at the “Human Battery” exhibit at the Electricity Museum, I couldn’t believe the results. According to this machine, my body produces less than half of the electricity that the young boy who went before me, even though I am much larger than he is. Confused, I headed off to the other exhibits to search for some answers.
Located on the third floor of the Electric Power Culture Center in southern Seoul, the Electricity Museum was opened two years ago by the Korea Electric Power Corp.
“This museum was established to teach people about the history and development of energy and electricity in Korea,” said Ahn Myeong-jin, the curator.
A large model of Gyeongbok Palace as it looked March 6, 1887 is the first display visitors see when they enter. It shows the pleasantly surprised expressions of the royal court as the first electric light in Korea began to burn, beginning the process of modernization.
A left turn leads you to the History of Electricity section, which takes a look at the development of electricity around the world and in Korea. Models and depictions of the earliest experiments in electricity are housed here. But watch where you step because if a sensor detects your presence in front of certain displays, videos automatically flicker to life, bombarding the unwitting visitor with information.
At the other end of the museum is the Modern Electricity section. The first display, almost as a reminder of those behind the museum, is a section titled “Nuclear Power is Environmentally-Friendly Energy.” This section also looks at alternative sources of energy that might be used one day, and more detailed nuclear power exhibits. This section houses a number of interactive exhibits such as the “Human Battery.”
Also on display are all the videos and commercials that the Korean Electric Power Corp. has produced for the Korean public going back to the ’50s, as well as an Electricity Usage Quiz. With no English version of the quiz, I breezed through the questions, picking answers at random. I scored a statistically predictable 4 out of 18 as the children around me giggled every time I chose incorrectly, causing a buzzer to sound.
While many of the museum’s exhibits are an introductory look at electricity and energy, some of the informational kiosks provide much more advanced and in-depth information. “Every semester, I tell my students to visit it,” says Lee Young-ill, a professor of electrical engineering at the University of Suwon. “The museum allows you to see many of the practical applications of theories taught in class.”
by Steven Lee
To get there, take line No. 3 to Yangjae Station, then exit 1. After a short walk, make a right onto a side road in front of Hana Bank. The Electricity Museum is on the left. The museum’s hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and it is closed Mondays and during major holidays. Admission is free.
For more information, call (02) 2105-8190 or visit www.kepco.co.kr/museum