The Vietnam National Museum of History (Vietnamese: Viện Bảo tàng Lịch sử Việt Nam) is in the Hoan Kiem district of Hanoi, Vietnam. The museum building was an archaeological research institution of the French School of the Far East under French colonial rule (Louis Finot École Française d'Extrême-Orient EFEO) of 1910, was extensively refurbished in 1920. It was redesigned between 1926 and 1932 by architect Ernest Hébrard. The museum was acquired by the government of North Vietnam (now the government of Vietnam) in 1958 and then the artifact collections were expanded to cover eastern arts and national history.
Bảo tàng Lịch sử Việt Nam
|Established||September 3, 1958|
|Location||Trang Tien street, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, Vietnam|
|Collection size||Vietnamese history|
|Director||Nguyễn Văn Cường|
|Public transit access||Bus, automobile, motorcycle, underbone|
The museum highlights Vietnam's prehistory (about 300,000–400,000 years ago) up to the August 1945 Revolution. It has over 200,000 exhibits displayed covering items from prehistory up to the 1947 revolution and founding of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, arranged in five major sections.
The museum building used to be the archaeological research institution of the French School of the Far East under French colonial rule (Louis Finot École française d'Extrême-Orient EFEO), which opened in 1910. This was extensively refurbished in 1920, and redesigned between 1926 and 1932 by the architect Ernest Hébrard. It is considered a blend of French colonial and traditional Vietnamese architecture, also called Indochina architecture. The museum was acquired by the government of North Vietnam in 1958 and then the artifact collections were expanded to cover eastern arts and national history. It was formally opened for public viewing on 3 September 1958. The museum's exhibits highlight Vietnam's prehistory (about 300,000–400,000 years ago) up to the August 1945 Revolution.
The museum is housed in a colonial French building which is a cupola shaped edifice in the shape of a pagoda. The design of the building is an amalgamation of French and Chinese architecture known as Indochina architecture. The building designed by Hebrard, incorporates double walls and balconies for a natural ventilation system and protection from sunshine. The exhibition area is more than 2,200 square metres (24,000 sq ft) with exhibits arranged chronologically. It is divided into five major sections: Section 1 covers period from the prehistoric period from the Stone Age (30,000–40,000 years ) to 4,000–5,000 years ago; Section 2 has displays from the time of nation building during the Tran dynasty; Section 3 has exhibits from the period of the Ho dynasty to the August 1945 Revolution; and Section 4 has artifacts of the Champa stone sculptures. The museum showcases Vietnam's history with very large collection of about 200,000 items, covering the Neolothic age, Bronze Age, Sa Hunh, Oc Eo, and Hung periods, Nguyen dynasty, Cham period, and also northern Vietnam's Dong Son, a culture which existed about 1000 BC-100 AD. These exhibits are in the main building. The exhibits highlight communism and depict the rule of the French colonists as cruel.
Exhibits in the museum include Hung era and Neolithic mortuaries, Bronze Age implements such as axe heads, and Cham period artifacts. There is an intimidating sculpture of Quan Am, the Goddess of Mercy, which has 1,000 eyes and arms. Also on display are the 13 Nguyễn dynasty emperor's ornamented throne, dresses and other antiquities. These include the large Dong Son drums, which are symbolic of Vietnamese culture. At ground level the display consist of stone implements, pottery, and ornaments, up to 1400 AD. On the first floor the exhibits pertain to the monarchic reign from the time of the Dinh and Le eras of 900 ADs to Vietnam's last emperors; these are decorative items such as a chest of drawers inlaid with mother-of-pearl, cylindrical containers of enamel (these are funerary jars), ceramics and bright lacquer ware. There is a stele which was found during an archaeological excavation with an inscription at a monument labeled G1, which is dedicated to God Harivamsesvara by Harivarman I (ca. 1137) is preserved in the museum. The exhibits of new artifacts cover Central Vietnam, Central Highlands, South Vietnam and also an old shipwreck near Cu Lao Cham Island. The museum has signage in English, but this is inadequate to express all that is on display in the museum.
To popularize Vietnam's history from the past to the present, the Museum administration organized an exhibition of 450 artifacts (416 from 13 Vietnamese museums and the balance from 8 European museums) in Austria and Belgium from September 2003 to November 2004. The Royal Museum of Arts and History (Kingdom of Belgium) and the Vienna Ethnology Museum (Republic of Austria) were associated with this exhibition, which was titled "Vietnam – Past and Present."
- Guides 2015, p. 255.
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- Lenzi 2004, p. 172.
- Prior to 1975, Vietnam was divided as two nations, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (called "North Vietnam") and the Republic of Viet Nam (called "South Vietnam")
- Filek-Gibson 2015, p. 63.
- "Major exhibition system". Official Website of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Museums. Archived from the original on 23 August 2016. Retrieved 6 November 2015.
- Black 2014, p. 18.
- Hardy, Cucarzi & Zolese 2009, p. 219.
- "Exhibition and advocacy". Official Website of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Museums. Archived from the original on 22 August 2016. Retrieved 6 November 2015.
- Black, Jeremy (2014). Contesting History: Narratives of Public History. A&C Black. ISBN 978-1-4725-1952-8.
- Filek-Gibson, Dana (2015). Moon Vietnam. Avalon Travel Publishing. ISBN 978-1-61238-891-5.
- Guides, Insight (2015). Insight Guides: Vietnam. Guides Insight. ISBN 978-1-78005-537-4.
- Hardy, Andrew David; Cucarzi, Mauro i; Zolese, Patrizia (2009). Champa and the Archaeology of Mỹ Sơn (Vietnam). NUS Press. ISBN 978-9971-69-451-7.
- Lenzi, Iola (2004). Museums of Southeast Asia. Archipelago Press. ISBN 978-981-4068-96-3.
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