National Museum of Korea Director General Yoon Sung-yong (second from left) on Jan. 24 presents his organization's major plans this year at a New Year's news conference held at his museum in Seoul's Yongsan-gu District. (Xu Aiying)

National Museum of Korea Director General Yoon Sung Yong (second from left) on Jan. 24 presents his organization’s major plans this year at a New Year’s news conference held at his museum in Seoul’s Yongsan-gu District. (Xu Aiying)

By Xu Aiying

The National Museum of Korea (NMK) plans to attract visitors this year through exhibitions featuring a diversity of domestic and foreign cultures.

Director General Yoon Sung Yong on Jan. 24 presented plans for major projects this year at a New Year’s news conference held at the museum in Seoul’s Yongsan-gu District.

In June in collaboration with the Denver Art Museum of the U.S., the NMK will host an exhibition of the lives and art of Native Americans. This will be the first event of its kind in Korea to feature Native Americans, displaying 130 pieces including paintings, costumes, sculptures and pottery owned by the American museum.

The same exhibition will run from November this year to March next year at the Busan Museum.

In conjunction with a conference of museum chiefs from Korea, Japan and China, an exhibition of East Asian lacquerware art will be held in July featuring 45 unique works uniquely created by each of the three countries using ott (lacquerware), a widely employed natural dye in East Asia.

In November, the NMK will host an exhibition on the birth of Vienna modernism jointly with the Leopold Museum of Austria. This event will highlight the influence and meaning of the Vienna Secession movement that occurred in the late 19th century in the Austrian capital through showing 120 artworks by painters from that era.

An exhibition of Korean cultural heritage is planned at the Korean art galleries of museums abroad.

In November, an exhibition on Korea’s taste and style is slated at the permanent exhibition hall of the Art Institute of Chicago. Featuring the diversity of Korean arts and culture by covering themes like religion, craftsmanship and teaware, the event will display 38 pieces from the NMK’s collection including golden crowns and golden belts from the Silla Kingdom.

An international touring exhibition of art donated by the late Samsung Group Chairman Lee Kun-hee will be held at three leading museums abroad considered the mid- to long-term bases for the NMK’s Overseas Korean Galleries Support Program.

The event will start with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art in Washington (November 2025 to January 2026), Art Institute of Chicago (March to July 2026) and British Museum (September 2026 to January 2027).

“The National Museum of Korea (four million) and its 13 affiliate museums saw the opening of the era of 10 million visitors, raising public interest in and expectations for museums,” Director General Yoon said. “We will sufficiently prepare this year’s projects to become a museum where more visitors go to for comfortable viewing and relaxing.”