"National Museum of Vietnamese History" Hanoi Things to Do Tip by Willettsworld

Hanoi Things to Do: 984 reviews and 2,248 photos

Located to the east of the Opera House in the French Quarter of the city, this museum is housed in a magnificent example of Indochinese architecture, which was, until 1910, the French Consulate and the residence of the governor general. The building was also home to the Ecole Francaise d'Extreme Orient (EFEO), during which time it became a museum to exhibit EFEO finds. Over time the building deteriorated, and it was not until the early 1930s, following a seven-year renovation, that what you can see now was realised.

Today, it is a museum showcasing Vietnam's history with very large displays covering every period. The ground floor traces Vietnam's ancient history, from the first Neolithic finds through to the mid 15th century. Some items date back as far as 10,000 BC and feature more than just the requisite pottery shards and axe heads. The jewellery, tools and household items archaeologists have unearthed, along with human and animal remains, paint a compelling picture of the people who inhabited the region long ago, and provide a sense of how they are tied to Vietnam's modern inhabitants. There's also an excellent selection of bronze drums dating back as far as 500 BC. The upstairs of the rotunda has a small, though very impressive collection of Champa pieces. The rest of the second floor goes from the 15th century up to the 20th. There are some familiar sights here in terms of temple statuary and pearl-inlay furniture, but some of the very intricate woodwork, and a statue of Guan Yin, the 'thousand armed, thousand eyed' manifestation of the Bodhisattva. There?s also a fair number of exhibits outside, so don?t miss these.

Open: 8am-4.30pm every day. Admission: 20,000 VND.

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  • Written May 12, 2010
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