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REVIEWTechnology meets the Arts, Currency Museum
Dong-hee Kim, CP Reporter | 승인 2018.05.15 12:17|(260호)

  There are certain acts that every traveler does. It is to examine the currency of the country. People look at what kind of pictures are included in the currency of the traveled country. Why do they do this? That is because people surreptitiously know that the appearance of money represents the face of the country. All these currencies are designed to show the characteristics of the country, represent national sentiments, and act as a measure of cultural level. By applying cultural assets, history, science, natural scenery, and great names that the country's people are proud of in their monetary designs, they can also introduce it to travelers. Of course, the paintings of money differed from generation to generation, and the current pattern of money is a standard for judging what the people of the country put emphasis on. For example, in the currency of North Korea, there are paintings that emphasize the Juche (translated as self-reliance) ideology and the army that defends the North Korean socialist system, and the United States puts honorable presidents in their bills.

  Since the money that can be called the face of the country is worth collecting, many countries build the currency museums to collect the money of the world and introduce their history of the national currency. In Korea, there are the Bank of Korea Currency Museum in Seoul and the Korea Minting and Security Printing Corporation(KOMSCO) Currency Museum in Daejeon. Among them, I would like to introduce the Currency Museum in Daejeon which the students of Chungnam National University can easily access.


Coin Gallery

  The first hall displays a variety of coins ranging from ancient to modern times. It also displays the old fashioned coining process of “Yeop-jeon”, common name of ancient Korean coins which looks like the shape of a leaf. It will help you understand more easily how Korean people made coins at that time. There are rare metallic pieces in the shape of a shovel or a knife which were used for money or as a means of exchange in China in the eighth century B.C. Together with them, Roman and Greek coins are displayed, and iron coins used during the Goryeo dynasty are displayed as well. You can also find a lot of Olympic coins and special types of token of the Joseon dynasty in this hall. The most impressive one to me was the two dollars’ worth of the Star Wars memorial coin.


Banknote Gallery 

  The second exhibition hall displays various banknotes, paper products, and miniatures of a security printing press and a paper-making machine. The banknotes on display range from the first paper money in Korean history to the current Korean banknotes. To help the viewer’s understanding, banknote manufacturing process is briefly introduced along with related photographs. Through this hall, you can see the history of the Korean paper money and culture related to it. You can also have a good chance to meet rare banknotes in the world. In particular, it is memorable that I was able to learn currency design before and after the North Korea currency reform. Also, I was surprised to find out that the reasons why many person portraits are adopted in banknotes are that people can easily identify minute changes compared to other design materials.


Security Features Experience Room 

  The third exhibition hall displays modern techniques of preventing counterfeiting. For and educational purpose, it displays the current anti-counterfeit features in Korean and other countries and shows the developments of the security techniques. The security of banknotes requiring protection against forgery depends to a great extent on the quality of the watermark and other security devices. The methods used in the production of banknotes to prevent counterfeiting are security threads, watermark and special matters, such as convex (intaglio printing), see-through printing which is a method to print a combined image separately on the front and back side of banknotes. There are a large 50,000 won model that shows the counterfeiting prevention factor of our money, and the experience device to check whether the money is genuine.


Special Product Gallery

  The fourth exhibition hall displays foreign and domestic postage stamps, decorations and medals created by the accumulated craftsmen and technologies of KOMSCO. The hall also displays a variety of rare foreign notes and coins from over 70 countries, including the European Union(EU), so you can compare the characteristics of the artistry and culture of each country's currency. You can also find the Korean decoration system in this hall. The decorations of Korea are divided into 12 kinds and are awarded according to one’s merit. Each decoration is divided into 5 classes, but the Grand Order of Mugunghwa is an exception.


  In the age of capitalism, money is probably what the average person wants most. How much do we know about such money? There are a number of considerations such as gaining public sympathy, expressing visual beauty, and also blocking the possibility of counterfeiting. The themes of the money generally include characters, architecture, natural landscapes, and plants, and more recently, geometric compositions and art are used. What is surprising is that the adoption of politicians and monarchs in the past has been reduced, but instead it has turned into the country's great women, painters, musicians, architects, writers, and inventors. It is interesting to note that these changes are in line with the present day, when the humanities comes into the spotlight and women's rights are being promoted.
The 32nd US president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882-1945) said that "the knowledge gained from stamps is rather more than learned from school." Of course, a collection that possess a great deal in quantity is simply a greed to own. Collection of stamps and bills does not mean simple collecting, but expanding cultural sophistication by establishing a wide range of cultural knowledge. I’m sure that visiting the Currency Museum will be of help to broaden our cultural knowledge by understanding the history of the world and by sympathizing the reasons why so many experts have adopted certain themes in the national currencies.


Tour Information
Open Hours 10:00 a.m. ~ 5:00 p.m.
Close Day Every Monday, New Year’s Day, The Harvest Day and other temporary holidays
Admission Free
Information Desk 82-42-870-1200
Address 80-67, Gwahak-ro, Yuseong-gu, Daejeon

Dong-hee Kim, CP Reporter  pen9uinus@cnu.ac.kr

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