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EXPLORESpecial Events

The Old Korean Legation: 800 Days of Restoration image
Special Events

The Old Korean Legation: 800 Days of Restoration

Korea’s first diplomatic legation to the United States opened in 1888, and after 130 years this historic space was reopened as a public museum. It is our privilege and pleasure to invite you to a new exhibition, The Old Korean Legation: 800 Days of Restoration.

This exhibition will feature photographic records of the restoration process that brought back the original beauty of the Old Korean Legation as it was in the late 19th century, as well as historic photographs of eight countries' diplomatic missions in Washington, D.C. from the 1890s, including Korea, China, Japan, Russia, Austria, Brazil, United Kingdom and France.

Space is limited for this program, so RSVPs will be accepted on a first come, first served basis. Read on for more on the legation and to RSVP. 

About The Old Korean Legation 

The Old Korean Legation in Washington, D.C., located on Logan Circle northeast of the White House, was originally erected in 1877 as the home of American Civil War naval hero, politician, and diplomat Seth Ledyard Phelps (1824–1885). It was later purchased and became the Korean Legation in 1889. While not quite a full embassy, as a legation it facilitated the active diplomatic endeavors of the Joseon Dynasty (1392–1897) and then the Korean Empire (1897–1910) for a period of 16 years. This ended when Imperial Japan deprived Korea of its diplomatic sovereignty through the Japan-Korea Treaty of 1905, also known as the Eulsa Treaty. Following the Japan-Korea Annexation Treaty of 1910, the Old Korean Legation building was purchased for a mere $5 by the Japanese government and immediately resold.

A century later, the Old Korean Legation building was returned to Korean hands in October of 2012 when it was purchased from a private owner by the Cultural Heritage Administration and the National Trust for Cultural Heritage of the Republic of Korea.

The Old Korean Legation building is a deeply meaningful space that has witnessed major events in both Korean and American history. It was a cradle for the Korea-U.S. friendship born out of the dedicated diplomatic efforts of King Gojong (r. 1863–1907), and a symbol of the drive for independence among Korean residents in the United States who gathered there to reaffirm their determination to recover the sovereignty of their homeland.

For more information, visit the Old Korean Legation website. 

WHAT: The Old Korean Legation: 800 Days of Restoration

WHEN: Friday, May 10 at 6 PM 

WHERE: Korean Cultural Center (2370 Massachusetts Ave. NW)