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Lee Kun-hee Art Museum to be built in Songhyeon-dong

Posted November. 10, 2021 07:28,   

Updated November. 10, 2021 07:28


The site for the Lee Kun-hee Art Museum, which will exhibit artworks donated by the late Samsung Electronics chairman has finally been confirmed.

According to the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism and the Seoul Metropolitan Government on Tuesday, Songhyeon-dong, which is located between Gyeongbok Palace and the Constitutional Court, has been selected as the site given its proximity to Insa-dong, where there are many museums and art galleries, including the Seoul Hall of the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, enabling easy access from visitors. The site of the National Museum of Korea in Yongsan, which competed against Songhyeon-dong until the last minute, was eval‎uated as somewhat inaccessible as a separate road had to be created in order to build the Lee Kun-hee Art Museum.

The ownership of the 36,642 m² site is being transferred to the Seoul Metropolitan Government. The city government offered to provide the site free of charge for the Lee Kun-hee art museum. The ministry and the city government will sign a business agreement for the construction of the new museum on Wednesday. A total of 23,181 pieces of Lee’s art collection will be displayed at the Lee Kun-hee Art Museum. The art collection is currently donated to the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art and the National Museum of Korea.

The Songhyeon-dong site was used as a residence for U.S. embassy employees. Samsung Life Insurance purchased the site in 1997, but could not find proper usage of the location. Korean Air bought the site in 2008 to build a hanok hotel, but development work did not proceed as it was close to Poongmoon Girls’ High School and Duksung Girls’ Middle and High School. Korean Air finally decided to sell the site in 2019. The site will be owned by the Seoul Metropolitan Government.

Hyo-Lim Son aryssong@donga.com