Leslie Perovich (
O: (949) 428-3900; C: (714) 714-749-3924

Pretend City Children's Museum sweeps up wave of modern-day
Korean culture

IRVINE (Feb. 16, 2015) - The growing popularity of all things Korean, from fashion and film to music and cuisine, has swept up Pretend City Children's Museum. From June 2, 2015 to September 7, 2015, Pretend City Children's Museum will ride "Hallyu" (the Korean Wave) with the debut of a brand new exhibit that digs right into the heart and soul of the culture. Heart and Seoul: Growing Up in Korea aims to bring modern-day South Korea to Orange County. Part of the Freeman Foundation Asian Culture Exhibit Series, Heart and Seoul: Growing Up in Korea premiered nationally at the Children's Museum of Houston, Pretend City is the first stop on an eight city tour within the next four years.

K-Pop's (Korean Pop) mainstream growing popularity, as well as Korean soap operas across Japan, Southeast Asia and the globe, represent only a minute reflection of the bustling, fast-paced, overwhelming, hip and trendy, mindboggling, multisensory experience that is like living and growing up in South Korea. In Heart and Seoul: Growing Up in Korea, five modern-day Korean kids will open their hearts and invite you to take an intimate look into their lives through their diverse interests, customs and ambitions, including their love of K-Pop and Korean cuisine, their habit of texting to communicate, and even their dreams of being accepted into a good college; their drive is what keeps them studying after school at "hagwon" (or cram school) until midnight! You're invited to connect to the world's "most wired country," where there's plenty of Wi-Fi and almost everyone owns a Samsung cell phone!

Orange County is home to the third largest Asian community in the United States. Koreans are one of the largest and most rapidly growing ethnic groups in Orange County. Local Korean businesses and communities sprawl throughout Orange County and still continues to grow. Irvine has the largest number of Koreans and has experienced the highest rate of growth with the Korean population - a 69% increase since 2000.

"Korean-Americans in Orange County are excited by the launch of the Heart and Seoul: Growing Up in Korea exhibit," said Amy Choo, program coordinator from the Korea Foundation, the sponsor of the exhibit. "We hope after seeing how Korean children live, play and study, children in the U.S. will be inspired to discover more about Korea. The Korean Foundation is excited to be helping our kids bridge the gap to other cultures in preparation for their life in the global community," said Choo.

South Korea is one of the fastest growing economies in the world and an important trade and political partner for the United States and other nations. It is enjoying broader influence, and receiving greater recognition for its contributions in the realms of arts, culture, and technology. Heart and Seoul: Growing Up in Korea will immerse you in learning experiences which build your understanding of Korean culture to see the differences and similarities between your life and the lives of Korean people. The exhibit is broken down into the following areas:

• KOREA PLAZA: "Hang out" with Korean kids and "text" them questions about what life is like in Seoul. Visit historical and famous sites on an interactive multi-user touch table. Then, launch a kite to "fly away the bad luck."
• KOREA K-POP STARS STUDIO: K-Pop has a huge influence on pop culture in Korea and around the world. Take the stage of the K-Pop TV studio and watch yourself "perform" with K-Pop stars in front of a 75" TV screen.
• ANIMATION STUDIO: Did you know "The Simpsons," "Family Guy," and "Avatar" were created in Korean animation studios? Check out a stop-motion animation station and draw an animated story.
• TAEKWONDO STUDIO: Kick, punch and block as you match your moves to Korean children who are experts in this martial art based on 2000-year-old ancient techniques.
• RESTAURANT: From Kimchi to Korean BBQ, dine in at this authentic Korean restaurant or take on the role of restaurant owner and watch your business boom.
• APARTMENT: Experience preparations, games and customs for Seollal (Lunar New Year). Try on a hanbok and learn to do the traditional bow, put on a traditional dress, "taste" New Years' foods such as tteokguk (rice cake soup), or play yut nori by throwing sticks and moving tokens around a game board.
• CLASSROOM: Stories, music and all happens in school. Learn how to speak and write Hangul. Listen to folktales and play the janggu and buk, traditional drums.
• HANOK GUEST HOUSE: The Jesa Table is a place where Koreans bow in respect to honor their ancestors. Write names of loved ones who have passed, put their names on the table and bow to experience this tradition. Also, check out the rollup floor mat and view a folk tale!

Pretend City Children's Museum features a small, interconnected city designed to "build better brains" through purposeful play, hands-on learning experiences, role playing, and educational programming. As a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization serving all children, it depends on community-based funding and guest support. Through 17 interactive exhibits and activities guided by a highly trained professional staff, children learn foundational math, reading and science skills, while fostering curiosity, creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, organization, teamwork, self-confidence and socialization. The museum is a unique community resource offering developmental screenings and tools for families, educators and community agencies working to ensure that each child gains the experiences needed to discover their potential and build toward a productive and fulfilling future. Pretend City Children's Museum is located at 29 Hubble, Irvine, CA 92618. For more information, please visit

The Freeman Foundation was established in 1993 by Mansfield Freeman. This private foundation is committed to increasing and strengthening the understanding of nations in East Asia. The Freeman Foundation Asian Culture Exhibit Series is funded by The Freeman Foundation and administered by Association of Children's Museums to bring outstanding interactive exhibits about Asian cultures to children, their families and school groups at children's museums across the United States.

In an increasingly complex world, children's museums provide a place where all kids can learn through play and exploration with the caring adults in their lives. There are approximately 400-children's museums around the world, which annually reach more than 31-million visitors. ACM provides leadership, professional development, advocacy, and resources for its member organizations and individuals. To learn more about ACM and to find an ACM-member children's museum near you, visit