해우재 Haewoojae Museum

Located about a half hour from Suwon station is a small free museum shaped like a toilet. This museum is the work of Sim Jaedeok who demolished his own house after 30 years and got architect Go Giung to build the toilet shaped building in honor of the World’s Toilet Association. In 2009, after Sim Jaedeok’s death the building was donated to the city and has been home for toilet and poop education since. The museum is free to visit though not the easiest to get to quickly. The fastest way to do so is to take a taxi and when you’re ready to l eave to ask the person at the front desk to call you one. Which, since we went during winter kept us from standing outside shivering.

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The museum is broken up into three parts. The toilet shaped building where we were asked where we were from and given a stack of post cards as thanks for visiting. This building discusses the history of toilets and different things that have been used in the past as toilets and toilet paper (like sand, leaves and rope). There is also some interactive kids exhibits and then the second floor is full of poop /toilet themed art.

The second part is the outdoors exhibit called the Hwajangsil Culture park (bathroom culture park). This consists of different dioramas that discuss the history of toilets and bathroom culture in Korea. Some of the English makes sense, some of it doesn’t. One of the toilet examples is the Tongshi Toilet used in Jeju which included pigs, essentially human waste was used to feed the pigs on Jeju island.

The third part is a building across the street broken up into three floors. The first floor has nice bathrooms that are outside and not inside the building and a space that seems to be used for making crafts with kids. The second floor is an interactive space for children about digestion, health and the different types of poop and how to tell what is healthy and what isn’t. Most of this section is in Korean but can be easy to understand. Then the third floor was closed when we visited which seems to be a space for the World’s Toilet Association to meet/have presentations and then there’s an observation deck. There is also an elevator in this building.

I wouldn’t suggest going out of your way to go to this museum, but if you are in the area definitely give it a try. It’s especially a popular spot for families with kids and young students. Plus you’ll learn some interesting things about Korea and the history of toilets and how we use them.

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