The Tenement Museum; The Wordmark Tower Tour (9/27/2115)
Location – Seoul, South Korea
This tenement museum can show the real resident life in early 21 century in Seoul, Korea. In the house museum, we could see and use all the digital devices and electronic appliances in person. Also, we can play the popular games at that time and watch some of the historical events from the old news. Compared to the other museums, this museum can touch and experience everything like a resident who really lived there. There was any guide but there were 4 holographic actors to perform as Hwang’s family. We can ask questions to each member and listen to their worries and goals of life. For example, teenager visitor can visit the Hwang’s daughter room and meet her and talk.
We went to see Hwang’s family which was one of the Korean common family houses in this building. There were 4 members lived together in 3 bedroom apartment. The two children were living until they were around 30’s. The guide told that it was common to live together until getting married at that time.
To meet the high cost of housing and food, the family worked hard for a long time. At that time South Korea was the second longest working time within OECD countries. As the result, they spent more time in their rooms to take a rest. The importance of kitchen and living room were getting smaller but their individual rooms were more necessary for their leisure time.
In Living room, we could see the LED TV and many different remote controllers to control many different digital devices like air conditioners, TVs, and home theaters etc. we could watch TV programs and commercial ads that showed very strange fashion and makeup. And there were some tablet phones called Smartphones which were commonly used for calling, searching and playing. Visitors can use them and even see their text messages and photos.
Mr.Hwang’s wife, Mrs. Kim was a housewife and spent most of the time in Kitchen. Her generation was quite unique because they had to take care both their parents and their children together. There were unique-designed home appliances for Korean families. For example, there was a different refrigerator for only Kimchi. In past, Korean people keep their Kimchi in the ground to keep it fresh with steady cool temperature. But they could not do it more after they lived in apartments and they created these refrigerators.
This building was built as a high-rise residential building with 36 floors. In early 2000, there was a boom to build high-rise residential building to meet the supply of housing needs in Korea. It showed the concentration of the population in Seoul. Mostly in this building the Korean upper-middle class people used to live.
Even though the exterior and the interior were modern designed with marble floors and glass-fronted window walls, there were still some of the features of Korean housing. For example, all floors were built heating system called Ondol. This floor heating system was from 1000B.C in Korea and they kept following the traditional technology to the modern building.
This museum was very unique and we experienced like we were back to the early 2000’s to compare different cultures and interests to now.
I visited Tenement Museum in NY and had a Sweatshop tour. It was a unique style of the museum for me. The group of people visited the real residential area which was used for two Jewish families. A guide explained the story of the family and historical events. I was getting into the story and imagined the life at the time. Old and rusty wallpaper and creaking wood floors, all these things made me special experience. I think the family story and the role of a guide were the most important factors to focus the museum tour. Visitors can ask questions to the guide and find questions with all objects from the period as an interactive and active visitor. This museum also reminds of the performance “Sleep No More”.
But we cannot touch almost everything to preserve and always followed the guide anytime. Maybe in the Future Museum of Now, we may be able to touch and use everything, and communicate the AI holographic family not just hearing from a guide. It could be more interesting hearing from each family members with their views.