In the he system of national museums, the National Museum of Vietnam History was early founded on the material basis of the Louis Finot, a museum of the Ecole Française d’Extreme-Orient which was built in 1926 and completed in 1932. In 1958, the Vietnam Government officially took over this cultural building and started to research, collect and supplement materials and objects, converting the contents from eastern arts into national history. On 3 September 1958, the National Museum of Vietnam History was officially opened for visitors..
To research the national history and culture from the prehistory to the August 1945 Revolution mainly through documents and artifacts of the Museum. To regularly update and add information and new artifacts to perfect the main exhibition system and the outdoor exhibition in terms of scientific contents and display art under the motto: Academic-Modern-Attractive. The current main exhibition system is the result of the fourth upgradation (1998-2000) in the 50-year operation of the Museum.
Covering an area of 2,200 square meters with nearly 7,000 original artifacts and documents, the main exhibition system vividly reflects different stages and events during the nation’s history. As thus, the Museum is always regarded as a big museum by the counterparts at home and abroad.
After the latest upgradation, the Museum has continuously add new collections, such as sole artifacts from the ancient vessel at Cham Island (Quang Nam), artifacts of the Oc Eo Culture. The Museum has also reedited and compiled captures to attract more visitors.
At present, the Museum is setting a project to upgrade its illumination system.
Annually, the Museum organizes 3-5 thematic exhibitions in cooperation with other museums, social and professional associations and organizations.
Recently, the Museum has succeeded in holding many exhibitions greatly hailed by researchers and common people:
- Treasures from five ancient shipwrecks within Vietnam’s territories
- Thang Long-Hanoi antiques
- Dong Son antiques: A brilliant ancient civilization
- Original antiques of the Oc Eo Culture
- Ly-Tran antiques: Imprints of the Dai Viet Civilization in the 11th-14th centuries
Especially, for the first time, the Vietnam Museum of History, together with 12 Vietnamese museums, collaborated with the Bruxelles Royal Museum of Arts and History (Kingdom of Belgium) and the Vienna Ethnology Museum (Republic of Austria) in organizing a large-scale exhibition titled Vietnam – Past and Present from September 2003 to November 2004 in these two countries. With 450 artifacts (416 from 13 Vietnamese museums, the remaining from 8 European museums), the exhibition was a great success, making the European community to have a new insight in Vietnam.
The Museum has regularly supported local and specialist museums in setting up the exhibition layouts as well as aesthetic methods and designs for the formation of some museums throughout the country: Exhibition House of Folk Cultures (Hoi An, Quang Nam), Museum of the Sa Huynh and Champa Cultures (Duy Xuyen, Quang Nam), Exhibition House of Hai Duong Ancient Ceramics, Museum of Anthropology (University of Social Sciences and Humanities), etc.
The Museum has effectively instructed domestic and foreign guests to visit, research and study right at the Museum. The Museum is promoting its marketing work to introduce itself and attract more visitors by building websites, making some scientific movies (with the Education and Science Channel of the Vietnam Television Station), and organizing periodic meetings of collaborators (with the sectors of tourism and education-training).
The number of visitors to the Museum is increasing from 50,000-70,000 turns in the past to 90,000-130,000 turns in the recent years.
The advocacy and educational work is a tradition of the Vietnam Museum of History and has been enhanced recently. At present, the Museum has three mobile exhibitions operating in the Mekong Delta, Central Highlands and the Northwest to receive tens of thousands of visitors. The Museum is experimenting a new form of mobile exhibition: displaying both images and original objects (of the local museums who are collaborators of the Museum) in some provinces: Lang Son, Vinh Phuc, Thai Binh, Hung Yen, Phu Tho, Ha Nam, etc. This method is being completed for a nationwide operation.
The National Museum of Vietnam History was established in 1958 on the foundation of the Louis Finot Museum of Oriental Arts that was built in 1926 under the French domination. After adjusting the exhibition content and form as a national museum, the National Museum of Vietnam History was inaugurated on 3 September 1958.
During its construction and development, the Museum has soon become one of the country’s cultural and scientific centers, which keeps and preserves the nation’s valuable tangible cultural heritages as well as studies and spread historical science through numerous collections of precious and meaningful artifacts reflecting the long-standing culture and history of Vietnam’s national construction and protection.
The Museum’s major exhibition system is now arranged chronologically from the primitive life in Vietnam to the August 1945 Revolution and the foundation of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. This historical process is displayed through more than 7,000 artifacts in a two-floor big building covering over 2,200 square meters, divided into four sections:
Section 1: Vietnam in the prehistory
Focusing on the formation and development of the primitive society in Vietnam during the Stone Age (30,000-40,000 years to 4,000-5,000 years ago).
Section 2: The early national construction to the Tran Dynasty
- Early national construction
- Ten-century struggle against the Chinese domination
- Ngo-Dinh-Anterior Le Dynasties
- Ly Dynasty
- Tran Dynasty
Section 3: Vietnam from the Ho Dynasty to the August 1945 Revolution
- Ho Dynasty
- Early Le-Mac-Restored Le Dynasties
- Tay Son Dynasty
- Nguyen Dynasty
- Anti-French movements and the August 1945 Revolution
Section 4: Collection of the Champa stone sculptures