South Korea is THE destination for K-Pop fans, and while K-Pop was not my main reason for studying in Seoul, there was no way I was going to ignore that part of the culture given that it's my favorite genre of music. Visiting HYBE was one of the few things on my Study Abroad Bucket List—which admittedly was just two places in my head, not an actual list—but I didn't get around to visiting until the second half of the semester.
I was impressed by the app and reservation process as well as how inexpensive the entrance fee was compared to what I expected it to be. Arriving at HYBE, I was greeted by the beautiful, tall, modern building. My friend and I scanned our QR codes and entered the museum. While photos were prohibited in certain areas, I was in awe of every exhibit.
I would not say I'm any kind of super fan. I collect albums and stream MVs from time to time, but I'm not the type to recognize the BTS stage outfits or memorize choreographies. Objectively, even if I wasn't a fan of K-Pop, I have a huge amount of respect for the curators of the museum and the dedication of K-Pop artists. The exhibits focusing on the various aspects of production were interesting and interactive. I especially loved the exhibits focused on activating the five senses. My favorite exhibit was the awards room. The way they used lighting on the floor, walls, and ceiling to create the experience of being in the space and movement was brilliant.
I ended up visiting HYBE twice and got to see the James Jean and Futura special exhibitions. These collaborations were great to experience in person. I didn't expect the size and vibrance of the paintings and sculptures when I first entered the hall. While I don't actively follow BTS, the collaboration with artists of other mediums was captivating.
The last stop of the museum is the gift shop. Let's just say, my credit card is in a bit of pain at the moment. With the variety of merchandise available, it is easy to rack up a big bill. The first time, I had decided against buying certain items (like the Euphoria room spray) and regretted it. Luckily, I had to return for some gifts for friends and family, and I was able to get the ones I left behind! Additionally, the second time I visited, HYBE was celebrating Enhypen's 1st Anniversary so there were special photocards for sale.
Overall, HYBE is doing a great job in terms of creativity, design, and innovation. The museum gave me an unparalleled K-Pop experience, and I recommend everyone go at least once while in Seoul!