Wax statues of world-renowned stars, athletes, artists and political and religious figures are now welcoming visitors to a newly-opened museum in Seoul.
On July 31, the Grevin Museum, a French wax museum, opened its newest branch along Eulji-ro Street in central Seoul. It’s its first in Asia and the fourth overall, following branches in Paris, Montreal and Prague.
The four-story museum features approximately 80 wax statues of both domestic and international celebrities. Life-like wax works of Hollywood actors and actresses, such as Al Pacino and Sylvester Stallone, wait to be admired on the fourth floor. On display on the other side are geniuses of the century, like Steve Jobs and Albert Einstein, and, also, historical Korean figures, including King Sejong the Great (세종대왕, 世宗大王) (r. 1418-1450), Admiral Yi Sunshin (이순신, 李舜臣) (1545-1598) and Shin Saimdang (신사임당, 申師任堂) (1504-1551), an artist, calligraphist, noted poet and the mother of Confucian scholar Yulgok.
The third floor has one section converted into a presidential airplane where Chinese President Xi Jinping is holding talks with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. This area garners the most attention from Chinese tourists, who ceaselessly press their camera shutters around the highest figure of their nation.
Past this section, one can encounter a room that houses wax figures of athletes, including the “Queen of Figure Skating” Kim Yuna, golfer Park Se-ri and baseball player Park Chan-ho. Wax works of historical artists, too, like Vincent van Gogh and Pablo Picasso, are on show in another room.
Going down another staircase and leading to the second floor, there is a beauty salon where wax actresses gather, and also a studio with wax figures of fashion designers from around the world. In the Hall of Fame visitors are welcomed by wax figures of world-renowned celebrities, including Tom Cruise, Madonna and Michael Jackson, as well as Korean singers, such as Psy, Rain and G-Dragon.
In the Hallyuwood zone, whose name stems from the words “Hollywood” and “Hallyu,” meaning the popularity of Korean pop music and soap operas across East Asia and elsewhere, attracts the most visitors. It displays wax works of Korean stars, including actors Kim Soo-hyun, Lee Min-ho and Hyun Bin.
On the opening day, a group of female visitors were hovering around the wax statue of Hyun Bin, and two of them were from Japan. “We learned about the opening of this museum in Seoul via Twitter. We are here today to see the exhibits in person,” said the visitors.
“The wax statues on display here are so exquisite and so realistic that we feel like seeing our favorite actors right up close,” they said.
“We chose Seoul as our first destination for the Grevin Museum in Asia since the city has a rich and excellent range of content from movies and music through to digital products and cosmetics,” said Dominique Marcel, CEO of Compagnie des Alpes, which operates the museum. “As Korean pop music, in particular, has spread across Asia, Seoul has become one of major destinations for tourists who travel in the Asian region.”
The museum is open from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. all year round. Tickets can be purchased at its official website (http://www.grevin-seoul.com/ko). Ticket prices range from KRW 23,000 for adults (aged from 19 to 64) and KRW 18,000 for students (aged from 13 to 18) to KRW 15,000 for children (aged from 3 to 12) and senior citizens (aged over 65).
By Sohn JiAe
Photos: Jeon Han
Korea.net Staff Writers