When Harry S. Truman Library Director Mike Devine flew to Seoul, South Korea, the last thing he expected to see was an enormous outdoor exhibit featuring photos from the holdings of the National Archives.
“In the last decade or so, we’ve had quite a number of researchers from Korea to the Truman Library to copy thousands and thousands of images. Still, I was surprised to see this in this big outdoor exhibit,” Devine said. “As I got closer, I was like, ‘Hey! That’s our stuff!’”
The outdoor exhibit was not co-sponsored by the National Archives but was the work of a private group. It showed the United States and United Nations support for the Republic of Korea in the aftermath of the North Korean invasion in June of 1951. The exhibit features more than 150 images from the Truman Library and other National Archives facilities.
The exhibit is on Seoul’s main thoroughfare in the city’s governmental center. Also displayed are the flags of the 67 nations that supported the people of Korea during the 1950–53 war and its immediate aftermath. It was sponsored by World Peace and Freedom United and is intended to provide young Koreans with a better appreciation for the significant international support that brought about the survival and development of the Republic of Korea.
“I wasn’t looking for this exhibit. It was just something I came across,” Devine said. “I mean, it was located on the equivalent of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of all the museums. I wish I had more time to chat with these people and find out their motivations.”