Busan offers plenty of things to do during a trip to the astonishing South Korean city. It has many places to shop, restaurants to dine, and stunning beaches for swimming. There are also copious amounts of museums showcasing its history, modern arts, and even its bustling movie contributions. Use this list to discover the top museums in Busan.
The Busan Museum of Art first opened its doors in 1998. Located near BEXCO exhibition center, it encompasses more than 21,000 square meters and features an array of exhibition halls, an open-air sculpture park, educational research rooms, and an onsite children’s museum. Having won the gold prize of architecture from the city of Busan in 2000, the building itself is also a work of art. Rotating exhibits have highlighted works by Kim Chong-Hak as well as other Korean contemporary artists from around the country.
Since it opened in 2015, the Busan National Science Museum has attracted millions of visitors in its mission to provide opportunities to learn about AI, coding, and other scientific breakthroughs in modern history. The museum not only features permanent exhibitions covering aerospace, energy, and medical science, but it also boasts a planetarium, children’s science hall, mini-train, and outdoor water park.
An Instagram lover's dream, the family-friendly Busan Trick Eye Museum allows visitors to become part of the art that is on display. Here, an optical technique called trompe l’oeil (which translates to "deceives the eye") is applied to world-renowned artworks, creating the illusion that the objects in the pictures appear to be in 3D. Be sure to end your visit by crafting your own original souvenir (called "Art Toy") or animal-shaped candle to take home with you.
Documenting the history of the city over five exhibitions, the Busan Modern History Museum is a prized destination to visit. It displays details about the port city starting from the late 19th century, as well as its relationship with Japan during the early days of its colonization. The museum is located in a building formerly used by the Oriental Development Company, a business operated by the Empire of Japan in order to command the Korean Empire.
It's no surprise that the largest port city in South Korea would house a maritime museum. Exhibitions display many facets of marine life and maritime culture, as well as examine the economic value of the industry. Here, you'll also find a performance stage, massive library, 4D theatre featuring oceanic films, and a children’s museum. Tourists can access the museum by taking the free shuttle bus that runs from Busan station.
Opened in 1996, the Bokcheon Museum shows visitors the history and traditional cultures of Busan which make the city unique, including various aspects of Gaya cultures. Among the exhibitions here, you'll find hundreds of pieces of relics that were excavated from the Bokcheondong Ancient Tombs. The museum prides itself on being a place that continues research on this ancient area and educates the general public about the history of the Gaya Kingdom.
With Busan hosting the annual Busan International Film Festival (BIFF), it only makes sense for the city to boast the Busan Museum of Movies. Located in Yongdusan Park, the four-story museum hosts experience halls, a VR theater, and numerous exhibition halls. While you're here, you can learn about the history of famed movies and the technology used to make classics and new age films, as well as listen to movie soundtracks.
Established by the Goeun Foundation and located in Haundae, the Goeun Museum of Photography is one of the first photography museums located outside of Seoul in South Korea. The museum showcases both international and Korean artists—highlighting work that spans across generations—and has exhibition rooms, a seminar room, and a full-on photo library. Tourists can download the mobile app in order to learn further details about the museum’s exhibitions.
Situated on Eulsuko Island in the Nakdong area of Busan is the Museum of Contemporary Art Busan. Spotlighting contemporary and new media art, MOCA Busan is Korea’s first museum of contemporary art. The venue hosts exciting art exhibitions, educational programs, academic conferences, and international networking events.
Located in the Nam District, next to the United Nations Memorial Cemetery, is the UN Peace Memorial Hall, which pays tribute to the soldiers who died during the Korean War. The military museum also features the UN International Peace Hall, where you can learn how UN peacekeeping forces have helped refugees and those suffering from various conflicts.