Tuesday, June 15, 2010

1950 Seoul - 6.25 60th Anniversary Special Exhibition

If Korean War was a nationwide tragedy, Seoul suffered more than its share of destruction as a prize changing hands four times during the conflict, its population constantly on the move, trying to flee battlefields or retaliations from new occupants.

Korean War started almost 60 years ago, on June 25th, 1950 - also known as "6.25".

North Koreans entered Seoul via Uijeongbu only two days later, and it took them two more to claim the capital city as their own. In the process, bridges over Han river were destroyed, leaving some ROK units caught on the wrong side. UN forces fought their way back in after Incheon Landing (Sept 15), allowing McArthur and Syngman Rhee to enter Seoul on September 29. The city fell again on January 3, 1951 (all the population leaving ahead of NK and Chinese troops - only 3,000 of Seoul's 130,000 citizens stayed), and was finally liberated two months later, on March 14. One month later, the flow of refugees (particularly from the North) pushed the population up to 320,000.

Seoul forged much of its modern identity during those crucial months, and Seoul Museum of History decided to focus on the year 1950 for its latest photo exhibition. As usual, the museum pay much attention to the daily lives of Seoul citizens, the memory of a people, the scars and hopes of a city. Propaganda is exposed as it was, not for a political agenda like in
that awful exhibition at Cheonggyecheon. Meant for a Korean audience*, the exhibition is of course a must for everyone.

1950 Seoul - 6.25 60th Anniversary Special Exhibition
Seoul Museum of History - Special Exhibition Gallery B
20100617 ~ 20100808
50 Saemunan-gil / 2-1 Shinmunro-2-ga, Jongno-gu, Seoul, Korea 110-062
Phone : 120 (Dasan hotline)

Seoul Village 2010

* recent polls show that 33% couldn't tell the right year for 6.25, with of course significant differences depending on the age : "only" 24.5% of those over 50, 21.3% for those in their 40s, 24.4% for 30s, but an astonishing 47.4% for the 19 to 29 year olds.

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