National Museum of Vietnamese History
Marvel at classical architecture and carved Hindu statues and discover tools and utensils dating back as far as 10,000 B.C. when you visit the superb Vietnam National Museum of History.
Before you enter the museum, be sure to examine the building’s exquisite design. Constructed in 1932, it is the former home of the École Française d’Extrême-Orient. The orange façade combines typical French columns and arches with curved roofs and hexagonal towers usually seen on Chinese temples. Both the interior and exterior are decorated with statues of gods from the Khmer and Champa kingdoms.
Start your tour on the ground floor where you’ll find a number of excellent ancient history exhibits. See precious jewelry worn by some of the country’s early aristocrats and marvel at prehistoric weapons and metal tools that were used for hunting and eating during the early Neolithic period. Get close to tombs that contain real human remains. Don’t miss one of the country’s most extensive assortments of cast bronze Dong Son Drums.
Continue on to the museum’s second floor where you will leap forward in time to the 15th century. Here, find a display of carved bronze sculptures that depict idyllic scenes of rural Vietnam. A collection of printing blocks used to create Buddhist prayer books is a particular highlight on this floor. Don’t leave before you’ve seen the intricate pieces of ceramic artwork that have been carefully preserved from the Nguyen Dynasty, which spanned the 19th century and half of the 20th.
Study the exhibit of placards from the resistance movement during the war with the French. See similar examples of propaganda posters for anti-American sentiment and general public service pleas as you browse through city shops.
Find the Vietnam National Museum of History at the top of Trang Tien Street in the east of Hanoi. There is a small admission fee and the museum is closed on the first Monday of each month. If you get hungry during your visit, have a snack or drink in the café in the museum’s courtyard.