For a site which memorializes those who died during wars throughout the 20th century, the War Memorial of Korea is a surprisingly user-friendly and lighthearted environment. Exploring the decommissioned tanks and missiles ones find a strange mix of entertainment and history.
The Memorial is comprised of six exhibition halls along with an outdoor gallery of war machines too massive to fit inside. All told, the site exhibits over 13,000 pieces of war memorabilia and military equipment. Opened in 1994, the building and grounds were strategically placed on the former army headquarters of Korea in the "Dragon Hill" district of Seoul.
Indoors, the memorial focuses on the Korean War and Vietnam War. However, the site is not only set on remembrance. Much of the memorial is set up to get visitors to see, touch, and feel what it was like to be on the front lines in the Korean war. Visitors have a particularly special opportunity in the memorial's Combat Experience Room. Surrounded by stimuli, visitors are thrown onto the battlefield in the Korean War, as audiovisual effects, vibration and even the smell of gunpowder overpower the senses and virtually recreate the war.
Besides the interactivity inside the memorial, the grounds, littered with old tanks that you can walk directly up to, has a strong air of national sentiment. Patriotic Korean music plays, and despite the weapons petting zoo feel, the massive warplanes, tanks and heavy artillery have a clear message for visitors and nationals alike: don't mess with the ROK.