Vietnam Museum of Ethnology

Vietnam Museum of Ethnology is both a research centre and a public museum exhibiting the ethnic groups of Vietnam. The mission of the Museum is scientific research, collection, documentation, conservation, exhibition and preserving the cultural and historic patrimony of the nation's different ethnic groups. The museum also serves to guide research, conservation, and technology that are specific to the work of an ethnographic museum.

The Museum is located in a large open area on Nguyen Van Huyen Street, Cau Giay District, about 8 km from the city centre. This area used to be paddy field of the local people. During the construction of the Museum, all of the infrastructure was built, including the 700m road from Hoang Quoc Viet Street to the entrance of the Museum. (In the near future, this road will reach the Daewoo Hotel, which is situated between Cau Giay and Lieu Giai Streets)

The Vietnamese Government first invested in the Museum in 1986 and construction of the foundation began in late 1989. According to the proposal, the total budget for construction was 27 billion of Vietnamese dong (US$ 1.9 million), not including 4 billion dong (US$ 285,000) for collecting and exhibiting the artefacts.
The exhibition building of the Museum was designed by the architect Ha Duc Linh, a Tay minority, who works for the Living Houses and Public Works Building Company, Ministry of Construction. The interior architecture was done by Mrs. Veronique Dollfus, a French architect.

The Museum is divided into two parts: an indoor and an outdoor exhibition. The indoor part is composed of the exhibition building, office, research centre, library, storage, technical lab and auditorium. These offices cover 2,480m2, including 750 m2 for storage of artefacts. The outdoor exhibition, which will be accomplished in the first years of the 21st century, is to highlight different types of houses in all parts of Vietnam. Pathways link the indoor and outdoor exhibitions with each other.

Since its inauguration on the occasion of the 7th Summit of Francophony in Hanoi, give date the Museum receives about 60,000 visitors annually.

It features a fascinating collection of art and everyday objects gathered from Vietnam and its diverse tribal people.

The museum has excellent maps and the displays are well labelled in Vietnamese, French and English. Interesting dioramas portray a typical village market, the making of conical hats and a Tay shamanic ceremony, while videos show the real life contexts. There are fabulous displays of weaving and fabric motifs. Visitors can also enter a traditional Black Thai house reconstructed within the museum, and there are outdoor exhibits in the landscaped grounds. A craft shop - affiliated with Craft Link, which is a fair trade organisation - sells books, beautiful postcards, and arts and crafts from ethnic communities.

The museum is quite a way from central Hanoi, but it shouldn't be missed.

Vietnam Museum of Ethnology
Address: Nguyen Van Huyen Road, Cau Giay District, Hanoi, Vietnam
Tel: (+84-4) 7562193 - Fax: (+84-4) 8360351 - E-mail: vme18@hn.vnn
Opened from Tue to Sun, 8.30am-5.30pm.