his son and heir, Kim Jong-il, come into view. We are beckoned forward and instructed to bow “in respect”.
Among vastly extravagant gifts are more subtle suggestions that this is a place belonging to an alternate reality.
A letter of support to Kim Jong-un from US musician Pras Michél, founder of R&B band the Fugees, is given prominence.
And in another corner, under the banner UK, is the signed Wigan Warriors rugby league jersey and ball, sent in 2014 by the UK arm of the Friends of North Korea.
Our guide tells an outrageous story that US President Jimmy Carter, after meeting Kim Il-sung in 1984, returned home and “told the American people that Kim Il-sung was a greater leader than all of George Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln”.
Then our minder bizarrely turns to us and says: “Do you believe in the impossible?”
As we push open another huge door on the third floor we enter a giant room with a twin propeller plane – a gift from Russia in 1958 – perched in the centre.
Our guide suggests that the plane flew into the room to land... rather than being assembled right there.
But then this is North Korea, a land where the lines are often blurred between reality and fiction.