Kim Dae-Jung Convention Center
The Kim Dae-Jung Convention Center was built in 2004, where expositions, notable performances, and international conferences are held throughout the year. It consists of a large exhibition hall where 500 booths can be installed, a conference room that can accommodate up to 2,000 people simultaneously, and a convention hall with ten small and medium-sized conference rooms. In particular, on the left side of the first floor of the exhibition building of the Kim Dae-Jung Convention Center, there is Kim Dae-Jung Hall, where you can see his relics and biography.
Former President Kim Dae-Jung was the first Korean who won the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of his contribution to easing tensions on the Korean Peninsula by leading the inter-Korean summit and 6.15 North-South Joint Declaration after fighting for more than 40 years for the realization of democracy and the improvement of human rights.
Kim Dae-Jung Hall exhibits memorabilia such as the prison uniform and handwritten letters that show the traces of former President Kim Dae-Jung's struggle for democracy and his tumultuous life. In addition, exhibits related to winning the Nobel Peace Prize, which means that it is the first Korean to be awarded, and paper media such as Time magazine that adorned the cover page at the time of the President are on display. A total of 344 items are on display here, including books, photo books, and gifts.
In addition to the Kim Dae-Jung Hall, some sculptures and works symbolize democracy and peace all over the Kim Dae-Jung Convention Center so that you can visit them with your children.
Crossing the road behind the Kim Dae-Jung Convention Center parking lot, you can face another trace of the struggle for democracy at 5.18 Freedom Park.
5.18 Freedom Park
5.18 Freedom Park is a particular park where you can see and awaken the pain of May 1980. It is a place to store and promote materials related to the May 18 democratization movement. The Sangmudae court and military prison, which were the site of the military trial, were moved to May 18 Freedom Park, about 100m away from their original location, and restored and reproduced to their original form.
A 5.18 exhibition room is in the Freedom Hall, where various materials such as photos giving a glimpse of the 5/18 era are on display. There is also a video room where you can vividly see the situation at the time of May 18.
5.18 Freedom Park
On the right after exiting the Freedom Hall, there are the military police company quarters, the military police company office, the military police canteen, military prison, and the courthouse, which reproduced May 18th time.
The military police company quarter squad and the military police canteen were places where civilians were arrested, questioned, and tortured during the May 18 Democratization Movement, a heartbreaking place where beatings and torture abound. The Military Police Headquarters Office was also the headquarters of the Martial Law Command Joint Investigation, which investigated the arrested people and conducted the trial, and many people had to shed tears here. As soon as entering the Sangmudae military prison and the courtroom, you can feel the heartbreaking air that can't even be put into words.
In addition, the images of citizen militia soldiers beaten by martial law forces, citizens being dragged away, and tortured people such as water are reproduced here and there, so you can feel the cruelty of the time and the aspiration for democratization.
Here at 5.18 Freedom Park, a history experience program is held for the general public and elementary, middle, and high school students. The program takes about 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours 30 minutes to listen to the commentators' explanations while looking around the courtroom and the military prison. Please apply for the program via the 5.18 Memorial Cultural Center website (http://518center.gwangju.go.kr) or phone seven days before your visit. The history experience program is recommended for families visiting with children or for those who are interested in the 5.18 Democratization Movement.