|Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Park Bo-gyoon speaks during a press briefing for the special exhibition, "Stories of Our Presidents," in Main Office Building at Cheong Wa Dae, Thursday. Yonhap|
By Kwak Yeon-soo
A special exhibition that brings visitors closer to all the presidents of Korea and their eras will be held at Cheong Wa Dae, the former presidential office and residence, to celebrate its first anniversary of being open to the public.
Titled "Stories of Our Presidents," the exhibition features documents, photos and the personal belongings of 12 Presidents that epitomize their time at Cheong Wa Dae. It will be held in Cheong Wa Dae's main office building and Chunchugwan, a building formerly used as a press center for journalists covering the presidential office over many decades.
"For 74 years (from Aug. 15, 1948, to May 9, 2022), Cheong Wa Dae stood as a symbol of the Presidency, where the country's top leaders ran state affairs," Culture Minister Park Bo-gyoon said during a press briefing for the exhibition at Cheong Wa Dae, Thursday.
"This exhibition will showcase an entertaining and thought-provoking selection of items that introduces visitors to the events that shaped the Presidents' lives and the decisions they made during their leadership."
Exhibition highlights include President Syngman Rhee's typewriter with an English keyboard, President Park Chung-hee's sketch of his dog Banguri, President Roh Tae-woo's "tungso" (Korean traditional bamboo flute), President Kim Young-sam's running shoes and President Roh Moo-hyun's reading stand, which he received a patent for.
|Former President Kim Young-sam's jogging shoes / Courtesy of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism|
|Former President Syngman Rhee's English typewriter / Courtesy of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism|
The culture ministry said most of the displayed items were owned by the National Archives of Korea while some were lent by presidential libraries and museums such as Kim Dae-jung Memorial Hall for Nobel Peace Prize.
It also responded to concerns about only highlighting the positive aspects of Presidential legacies. For instance, it showcases former authoritarian leader Chun Doo-hwan as a sports fan who performed his first-ever ceremonial pitch in Korea's professional football and baseball games. Professional baseball and football leagues were launched under his rule.
"There might be controversies surrounding a few former Presidents, but we have consulted with scholars, professors, former Cheong Wa Dae correspondents and the families of Presidents. It led to a decision to include all 12 Presidents of Korea," Park explained.
In Chunchugwan, visitors will be able to look at crockery sets that were used for events when serving foreign dignitaries visiting Korea. In addition, furniture used in the main office building, Sangchunjae, the former reception venue for foreign dignitaries and the residence's dining room will be on display.
The exhibition will run until Aug. 28.
|Former President Park Chung-hee's sketch of his dog Banguri / Courtesy of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism|