Korean legation in U.S. to be restored

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Korean legation in U.S. to be restored

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Above: A photo of the Legation of Korea’s interior in Washington, D.C. Provided by the Huntington Library, Right: The facade of the Legation of Korea building Provided by the Overseas Korean Cultural Heritage Foundation

The Legation of Korea building in Washington D.C., which was set up in the early 1900s for use by the Korean Empire (1897-1910), will be restored to its original form.

The move was made possible as documents and photos alluding to the building’s interior and how officials used it were recently retrieved.

The Overseas Korean Cultural Heritage Foundation, which is managing the restoration process, said that materials have been discovered at the Kyujanggak Institute of Seoul National University. The building was reviewed in the book “Juminaegeoan,” which includes documents the legation exchanged with offices in Korea.

The heritage foundation found original copies of estimates sheets produced in 1900, created because the building needed repairs. Another document listing the items inside the legation was also found.

Because the documents detail the legation’s floor plan, the foundation has more of an idea of how the building was used. It has learned more about the second and third floors of the institution, of which little was known before now. The second floor was used as an office space for the minister and officials, as well as a library while the third had private rooms.

Until now, the foundation was only able to check partial information regarding the use of the building through photos provided by the Huntington Library in California, which were donated to the Independence Hall of Korea.

The building, opened by Emperor Gojong in 1889, was forced for sale by Japan in 1910. The Cultural Heritage Administration of Korea purchased the building in 2012, 102 years after it was let go, and decided to restore the building to its original shape. The CHA plans to complete the restoration, which will include an exhibit space, and will open the building to the public.

By LEE SUN-MIN [summerlee@joongang.co.kr]




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