National Museum of Vietnamese History

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National Museum of Vietnamese History
Bảo tàng Lịch sử Việt Nam
Nmvnh logo.png
Logo of the National Museum of Vietnamese History
Established September 3, 1958; 57 years ago (1958-09-03)
Location Trang Tien street, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, Vietnam
Coordinates 21°01′29″N 105°51′35″E / 21.024651°N 105.859701°E / 21.024651; 105.859701
Type National Museum
Collection size Vietnamese history
Visitors Local and foreigners
Director Nguyễn Văn Cường
Public transit access Bus, automobile, motorcycle, underbone
National Museum of Vietnamese History building

The National Museum of Vietnamese History (Vietnamese: Viện Bảo tàng Lịch sử Việt Nam) is located in the Hoan Kiem district of Hanoi, Vietnam. It has over 200,000 exhibits displayed in an area of 2,200 square metres (24,000 sq ft) covering ancient historical period and up to the 1947 revolution and founding of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.[1]


The museum is situated at the back of the Opera House.[2] It is in 1 Trang Tien Street, 216 Tran Quang Khai Street, Hanoi.[1]


In the past, the museum building used to be the archaeological research institution of the French School of the Far East under the French colonial rule (Louis Finot École française d'Extrême-Orient EFEO), which had opened in 1910. This was extensively refurbished in the 1920,[2][3] and redone between 1926 and 1932 by the architect Ernest Hébrard, which is considered a successful blend of French colonial and traditional Vietnamese architecture, called Indochina architecture.[4] The museum was taken over by the Government of Vietnam in 1958 and started expansion of the artifact collections 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) up to the August 1945 Revolution. [1]


The museum is housed in a colonial French building which is a cupola shaped edifice which appears like a Pagoda. The design of the building is an amalgamation of French and Chinese architecture known as Indochina architecture.[2][5][4] The building designed by Hebrard incorporates double walls and balconies for a natural ventilation system and protection from sunshine.[4] The exhibition area is more than 2,200 square metres (24,000 sq ft) with exhibits arranged chronologically.[1] It is divided into five major sections; Section 1 covers period from the prehistoric period from Stone Age (30,000-40,000 years ) to 4,000-5,000 years ago; Section 2 has displays from the time of national building during the Tran Dynasty; Section 3 has exhibits of the Ho Dynasty to the August 1945 Revolution; Section 4 has artifacts of the Champa stone sculptures.[6] The museum showcases Vietnam's history with very large collection of about 200,000 items, covering the period of Nelothic age, Bronze age, Sa Hunh, Oc Eo, and Hung periods, Ngyyen dynasty, Cham period, and also of northern Vietnam's Dong Son, a culture which existed about 1000 BC-100 AD.[7][5] These period exhibits are in the main building. The exhibits highlight communism and cruel rule of the French colonists.[7]


A Đông Sơn bronze drum, c.800 BC.

Exhibits in the museum consist of the Hung era and Nelothic mortuaries, Bronze age implements such as axe heads, and Cham period artifacts. There is a scary sculpture of Quan Am, the Goddess of Mercy, which has 1,000 eyes and arms. Also on display are the 13 Nguyễn dynasty emperors' ornamented throne, dresses and other antiquities.[2] The large drums Dong Son, which are symbolic of Vietnamese culture.[7] At the ground level the display consist of stone implements, pottery, and ornaments, up to 1400 AD In the first floor the exhibits pertain to monarchic reign from the time of Dinh and Le eras of 900 ADs to Vietnam's last emperors; these are decorative items such as furniture (chest of drawers) inlaid with mother-of-pearl, cylindrical containers of enamel (there are funerary jars[3]), ceramics and bright lacquer ware.[5][3] 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.[8] The exhibits of new artifacts cover Central Vietnam, Central Highlands, South Vietnam and also old shipwreck near Cu Lao Cham Island.[1]

Museum has signages in English but they are found to be inadequate to bring out all that is on display in the museum.[2]

To popularize Vietnam’s past history to the present status, the Museum administration organized an exhibition of 450 artifacts (416 from 13 Vietnamese museums and the balance from 8 European museums) at Austria and Belgium during 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 in this exhibition which was titled "Vietnam – Past and Present."[9]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Background introduction:Vietnam Museum of History". Official Website of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Museums. 4 May 2011. Retrieved 6 November 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Guides 2015, p. 255.
  3. ^ a b c Emmons, Ron. "Frommer's National Museum of Vietnamese History". Retrieved 6 November 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c Lenzi 2004, p. 172.
  5. ^ a b c Filek-Gibson 2015, p. 63.
  6. ^ "Major exhibition system". Official Website of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Museums. Retrieved 6 November 2015. 
  7. ^ a b c Black 2014, p. 18.
  8. ^ Hardy, Cucarzi & Zolese 2009, p. 219.
  9. ^ "Exhibition and advocacy". Official Website of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Museums. Retrieved 6 November 2015. 


External links[edit]

Media related to National Museum of Vietnamese History at Wikimedia Commons