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Gov't to build Korean literature museum in Seoul's northwestern district

All Headlines 12:30 November 08, 2018

SEOUL, Nov. 8 (Yonhap) -- The government said Thursday it will construct the country's first-ever national museum to promote Korean literature in northwestern Seoul.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism announced that land where a state-invested housing complex for journalists was once located in Seoul's Eunpyeong district was finally chosen to be the location of the National Museum of Korean Literature.

The government will spend 60 billion won (US$53.6 million) to complete the museum by 2022.

The museum will systemically collect, preserve and study the legacy of literature and original documents and be used as a multipurpose cultural space to exhibit, educate and provide first-hand experience of literature, it added.

The Gijachon site was selected over three other finalists -- Culture Station Seoul 284, an art space in what was once Seoul Station, and Paju Book City and Heyri Art Valley, both located in Paju, northwest of Seoul.

They were shortlisted among 26 sites submitted by various municipalities around the country.

Gov't to build Korean literature museum in Seoul's northwestern district - 1

The designation came after nearly three years of heated debate over where to construct the national facility memorializing Korean literature.

Initiated under a law legislated at the end of 2015 to promote Korean literature, the project to build the museum began in May the following year. But the culture ministry under the former Park Geun-hye administration halted the process of selecting the museum's location the following month due to overheated competition among municipalities to host the iconic museum.

After many discussions and public hearings, the ministry under the current Moon Jae-in government designated Yongsan in central Seoul as the site of the museum in September last year. But it had to scrap the decision in the face of strong opposition from the Seoul municipal government, which wants to create a large ecological park at a nearby site in Yongsan when U.S. troops stationed there complete their relocation to south of Seoul.

The Gijachon site received high marks in terms of accessibility, scalability and possibility for international exchanges, the government said in a release.

"In particular, it was positively rated to be a good place for many literary figures and people to approach and for the chance of bringing a synergy effect with various literary and culture-arts facilities in the vicinity," it added.

Eunpyeong Hanok Village, Savina Museum, a private art gallery and the national Institute for Translation of Korean Classics are in Eunpyeong.

"We need to start constructing the National Museum of Korean Literature as the process of choosing the construction site was finalized through much discussion in literary circles," a ministry official in charge of the project was quoted as saying in the press release. "We'll do our best to make the museum into a major hub for promoting literature."

sshim@yna.co.kr
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