Monday, November 26, 2012

[Tour/Press Article] Asia's only Sci Fi Memorabilia Museum is in Daegu!

Asia's only Sci Fi Memorabilia Museum is in Daegu!

When we were kids we all let our imaginations run wild and wanted to run away to the fantasy worlds we saw in the movies. Some of us even collected action figures and other merchandise related to our favourite movies and super action heroes.

However, one local entrepreneur has taken this a step further and opened a gallery to house his burgeoning collection of movie memorabilia and to share his passion with others. Reminiscent of the comic book stores back home CW Restaurant and Museum located just outside Daegu is a homage to the most popular and influential SF and fantasy movies of the last four decades. 

CW Restaurant and Museum

I recently discovered about Cinema World in Daegu by accident this week, immediately became excited, and wanted to visit at the first opportunity. With my medium level Korean and the help of a Korean friend I was able to interview owner and CEO Cho Woong.

CEO Cho Woong

Q. Why did you start your collection?
A: After first watching Star Wars I was fascinated by the characters.

Q.What did your family think when you first started?
A: My father was upset at first and it took five years for him to get used to it. 

Q. When did you start collecting?
A: I started 13 years ago at age 22 originally with movie posters and have a very large DVD/BluRay collection.

Q. Where do you get your materials from, the internet, trips to USA, or have them made?
A: Some of them are from ebay. I have been to Japan many times and a few times to the US. Others I make myself.

Q. Have you had a valuation done of your collection or what is the highest value item?
A: The lifesize C3PO & R2D2 was a limited edition purchased from the US five years ago for $400,000.

Lifesize C3PO & R2D2

Q. You have Star Trek and Planet of the Apes which are unknown to most Koreans. How do you know about these?
A: When I was in Seoul AFKN an Armed Forces Services channel would air the Star Trek series so I became interested.

Q. You don’t have any Doctor Who (which currently airs in Korea on BBC Entertainment)?
A: I know of it but want to use things that Koreans will be familiar with, and I don’t know where to buy the merchandise.

Q. Do many foreigners come to visit?
A: There are some foreign students from nearby Yeongnam University that have visited but most foreigners don't know about this place.

Q. Such museums back home would cost over $30 but yours is so cheap at only 3000w.
A: I want to share this with everyone but if I made it free people would think the things aren't valuable so I have to charge something. 


Q. What is your favourite movie or exhibit?
A: I like Back to the Future the best. The ET for the bicycle was a limited edition item I had purchased.

Back to the Future

Q. Have you met any celebrities or been to US fan conventions?
A: I haven’t met anyone like Arnie or the Star Wars actors as none of them have come to Korea. I'd love to go to a Sci Fi convention one day. [I suggested he organize a Korean one with his exhibits and invite some actors!]

Q. What can you tell us about your future plans?
A: This is the only gallery of its kind in Korea, there is not one like it in Seoul. I am from Seoul but the rents were too expensive so I opened my museum in Daegu. I started this location 3 years ago. I want to expand in the future as we've run out of space but I haven’t made plans yet. It’s well known by the Korean media but not by foreigners. This is the only such museum in Asia and my dream is for it to become very famous. 

Cinema World is not just a memorabilia museum but also a restaurant and cafe. 

Restaurant and Cafe Entrance
CW Restaurant
Cinema World Cafe
Rooftop Terrace

The third floor houses the museum and rooftop terrace. The second floor is divided into the restaurant on one half and cafe on the other side. 

CW Restaurant & Museum is easy to reach now that the Green Line 2 has been extended east into Gyeongsan. From Jeongpyeong station two stops before the end of the line you take exit 4 and head across the river. The museum is immediately visible by the river behind the megabox theatre. Visitors from outside Daegu can easily access the subway at DongDaegu if coming by KTX or Express Bus.

Souvenir Guide Book

You can also buy a souvenir memorabilia book for only 1000w. ($1)

This is their website and address
437-1 Daepyeong-dong, Gyeongsan-si, Gyeongbuk

and their Facebook Page

Here is a Korean Blog with illustrations of the restaurant menu items

another Korean Blog with detailed exhibit pics including the restaurant

and another Korean blog showing the exhibits

Batman & Spiderman
Span of Gallery
Star Wars Figures
Marvel Superheroes
Jabba's Palace
Yoda's House
Terminator Exoskeletons
Terminator Robot
Sarah Connor Photo & Arnies Jacket

How this has remained a complete secret from the expat community for so long is a mystery, and for only 3000w admission ($2.70) right outside a subway stop why wouldn’t you go? I'm already planning a second trip back with friends and will be sure to be back many times after that. 

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