Located on Logan Circle, this museum is a meaningful space that has witnessed major events in both Korean and American history.
Located in the historic Logan Circle neighborhood northeast of the White House in Washington D.C., the Old Korean Legation building was erected in 1877 as the house of Seth Ledyard Phelps, American Civil War naval hero, politician, and diplomat.
After becoming the Korean Legation in 1889, the building provided the main stage for the active diplomatic endeavors of the Joseon dynasty and the Korean Empire for seventeen years. This ended when Japan deprived the Korean Empire of its diplomatic sovereignty in 1905. It was finally returned to Korean hands in October 2012 when it was successfully repurchased by the Cultural Heritage Administration and the National Trust for Cultural Heritage of the Republic of Korea.
The Old Korean Legation building is the cradle for the Korea-U.S. friendship born out of the dedicated diplomatic efforts of the Joseon dynasty. It has witnessed significant events in both Korean and American history. It also provided a window for absorbing modern cultural elements from the West.
The restoration of the building was begun in December 2015 and opened to the public in May 2018. Today, the Old Korean Legation building is the sole example preserving its original appearance among the extant nineteenth-century diplomatic mission buildings in Washington D.C. It is highly valued for its historical significance.