Some Star Wars collections are so impressive that they make me think of Indiana Jones saying, “It belongs in a museum!” Steve Sansweet of Rancho Obi-Wan went that route, and we’ve featured a few other collectors on the blog that have devoted entire rooms of their homes to displaying Star Wars memorabilia. Cho Woong incorporated his massive collection beautifully into his home decor, but had so many items that he wanted to share them with others. To that end, he created a movie memorabilia gallery above his restaurant in Daegu, South Korea.
His passion for films began as a child when his father took him to the theater for the first time. He wanted to extend and hold on to the emotions he experienced while watching movies, and he found a way to do that by collecting. His collection includes items from many franchises, but is dominated by Star Wars. I talked with Cho Woong about how his collection started and what sort of Star Wars items it includes.
He’s been collecting for most of his life, and it started because of Star Wars and his fascination with the characters. As a young man, he accumulated movie soundtracks on CDs as well as several movie posters. Then in 1999 he visited Universal Studios Hollywood. He started purchasing statues and figures because he thought they were the best for interior design. His collection grew and as a visual designer, he decided he wanted to create an appealing space to display his own “cinema world.” That led to him creating the museum in March 2012.
As you flip through photos of Cho Woong’s collection, you’ll notice it’s focused. He has hundreds of statues and figures from the Rebel Alliance, the Empire, and beyond, but they’re all of a certain quality. There aren’t many 3.75 inch figures (if any) and there are no costumes. Limiting the scope of collectibles like this can make for a more streamlined and unified display. He said he specifically searches for high quality, limited edition Star Wars collectibles and estimates he has over 2,000 items in that category. Looking at his collection, I’d believe it.
Cho Woong mostly finds additions for his collection online, though he has made special trips for certain acquisitions. He purchases new products but also keeps an eye on auction sites and online antique shops for deals. One of his recent purchases was a 1950-1960s era projector he found for a bargain — he collects items related to cinema history too.
If you find yourself in South Korea, you can view Cho Woong’s collection in person at the CW Restaurant. Until then, you can get a virtual look in the photo gallery: