by Karen Day
Whether you’re hunting Pokémon, a Kevin McAllister doll, vintage Star Wars action figures, old-school Korean toys or the obscure Alyssa Milano album, the Pollalla Toy Museum in Seoul has you covered, and then some. This hidden Hongdae gem is a hoarder’s delight, in the best kind of way.
Founder and avid collector Hyeon Tae-Jun has amassed over 30,000 objects, all neatly arranged and on view in glass cases. Some are available for purchase, others are purely for admiration. But as someone who is more of a fanatic than curator, the madness isn’t simply contained within the cases.
In fact, it begins at the entrance, which is a narrow staircase lined with yellow post-its from appreciative visitors and laminated articles that have been written about the museum (all in Korean). After paying ₩1,000 (a little less than $1), you’re free to roam around the room, which is covered entirely in all types of ephemera.
There’s a vinyl section that includes a fair amount of Korean records spanning classical to K-Pop, in addition to a range of international music from Latin beats to disco dreams. We were excited to stumble upon In Harmony, a Sesame Street album featuring Dr. John, James Taylor, The Doobie Brothers and others, as well as the super curious The Invasion of The Spacepeckers by the Video Kids. Surrounding all of this are books of all sorts (English and Korean), retro gashapon machines, stacks of puzzles, sticker walls and myriad things hanging from the ceiling. It’s hectic, but intensely entertaining.
The Pollalla Toy Museum is just a short walk from the centrally located Hongik University stop along the metro, which is a fun and youthful area to hang out in for the day. The museum has no official website, but can be found at 335-4 Wausan-ro, Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea.
To celebrate their Round The World offering Star Alliance partnered with Marriott TRAVELER to offer Cool Hunting Editor-at-Large Karen Day her dream trip. She chose to explore locations she’d visit on a professional gap year, taking a break from the grind of NYC to explore places that inspire the creative spirit.
Images by Karen Day