PYEONGCHANG, Gangwon Province -- The National Museum of the Annals of the Joseon Dynasty in Pyeongchang, Gangwon Province is gearing up to open its doors to the public this Sunday to offer important documents that show the history of the dynasty (1392-1910) year-round.
"Due to the delicate nature of paper book preservation, museums have previously limited the exhibition duration of these artifacts," a senior researcher commented during a press conference organized by the Cultural Heritage Administration on Thursday. "This marks the first time that the annals is available for year-round public viewing in a permanent exhibition."
The museum works to preserve and showcase the original copies of the "Joseon Wangjo Sillok," the Annals of the Joseon Dynasty, and "Joseon Wangjo Uigwe," the Royal Protocols of the Joseon Dynasty.
The "Joseon Wangjo Sillok" documents a 472-year span of Joseon's history in chronological order, spanning from 1392 to 1863, highlighting the accomplishments of Joseon kings, from the first king, Taejo, to the 25th king, Cheoljong.
"Joseon Wangjo Uigwe" are records designed to establish standards for rituals during the Joseon era, meticulously documenting procedures for state and royal family events, accompanied by illustrations and written documentation.
Starting in 1606, the copies were progressively kept as they were published, at the archival storage facility in Odaesan, a mountain area north of Pyeongchang in Gangwon Province. However, in 1913, the Japanese took all the copies of the annals and part of the protocols to Japan.
Through collaborative efforts of the government, non-governmental organizations and Buddhist communities, the annals were repatriated in 2006 and 2017, and the protocols in 2011. The Odaesan edition of the annals is comprised of 75 volumes, and the protocols consist of 82 volumes.
In addition, the museum has a collection of 1,207 artifacts, which will be featured in rotating exhibitions.
The permanent exhibition hall offers insights into the creation and storage of documentary records during the Joseon era, the history of regional archives and their roles. It also showcases the "Sillokgak" and "Seonwonbogak" signboards originally displayed in the local archive hall.
As for the royal protocols, the museum displays documents such as King Yeongjo's temple titling directorate, the royal seal protocols and the royal protocol for the Gyeongungung palace reconstruction directorate, all of which were originally housed at the Odaesan facility.
The researcher added that plans are underway to develop the ground floor for the coming year, featuring media exhibitions and educational centers for children.
The grand opening ceremony and festivities will take place on Saturday at 2 p.m.
On Sunday, the museum will offer a special souvenir to the first 100 visitors.
The museum's operating hours are from 9:30 a.m. to 4:50 p.m. between November and April, and from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. between May and October. The museum closes Tuesdays.