Vietnamese women’s museum displays role of girls in society
The museum is collection of the memories and historical facts of the warmtime contribution by individual heroic ladies or girls in Vietnamese social life, culture and art.
The Vietnamese Women’s Museum is one of Hanoi’s most overlooked museums and is also one of its best. Vietnamese Women’s Museum is a gender museum with functions of research, preservation, and display of tangible and intangible historical and cultural heritages of Vietnamese women and Vietnam Women’s Union. The museum was reopened in 2010 after a period of 4 years of renovations. This excellent museum showcases women’s role in Vietnamese society and culture. Labelled in English and French, it’s the memories of the wartime contribution by individual heroic women that are most poignant.
The Vietnamese Women’s Museum, in Hanoi, was founded by the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam in 1987 as an entity within the Viet Nam Women’s Union. The museum explores Viet Nam’s cultural diversity and women’s significant contributions to the nation’s development, culture and society. The Vietnamese Women’s Museum is a community repository of cultural and historical knowledge about Vietnamese women’s lives across the nation’s 54 ethnic community groups. The Museum is also a centre for cultural exchange with women from other nations with the goal of fostering ‘equality, development and peace’. Covering 2000 square meters, the museum has nearly 25,000 documents and objects reflecting Vietnamese women’s contributions to history and contemporary life. The museum in a 4-storey building is arranged like a history book, where visitors can enjoy the exhibits like turning pages of a history book. Tran Thu Huyen, a guide of the museum said: “Each floor is a chapter of the book with vivid images, documents, and diverse objects, through which visitors can better understand Vietnamese women.” In the museum’s lobby on the first floor, visitors are memorised by the statue called “Vietnamese mother”. This statue won the first prize in a sculpture competition organised by the Museum and the Fine Arts Association of Ho Chi Minh City in 1995.
The Vietnam Women’s Museum delivers a beautifully presented tribute to the women of Vietnam across the ages. There are plenty of historical contexts alongside a wealth of information on today’s more modern Vietnamese woman.The museum is run by The Women’s Union of Vietnam which is recognised as one of the country’s most powerful movements.There is a stunning collection of propaganda posters, as well as costumes, tribal basketware and fabric motifs from Vietnam’s ethnic minority groups.
The museum has three main galleries and these present three main themes: Women in Family, Women in History and Women’s Fashion. Visitors have the opportunity to learn and understand traditional culture, marriage customs, childbirth and family life, traditional women’s clothing and the role of women in the defense of the nation. All the texts are available in Vietnamese, English and French for easy understanding of the exhibits. The museum’s speciality store and café comprises the traditional handcrafts and traditional food of Vietnam.
Inside the museum there is lots of narrative as women of the rice paddy fields, service workers, street vendors, female business leaders, academics and mothers are all well represented. Additionally there is plenty of information on everyday life including marriage, family life, fashion and life changing rituals. Interestingly, there are also exhibits on the part women played in Vietnam’s wars. Displays are very well presented in a storytelling format with signs also in English and French. Historic documentation including Taoist books of the Dao people and wedding cards from the Kinh community will give visitors an in-depth insight into better understanding the women of Vietnam. Photographs and film footage documenting the life of heroic mothers during wartime are moving exhibits that should not be missed.
Hanoi’s Vietnam Women’s Museum features displays across five floors delivered over three sections – women in family, women in history and women’s fashions. There are more than 1,000 artefacts on display depicting the many faces and changing roles of Vietnamese women. The Women in History section showcases: Vietnamese women from 1930-1954, Southern and then Northern Women from 1954-1975, Unification, Vietnam’s Heroic Mothers and Portraits of Contemporary Women.
Fascinating exhibits include a wooden tray that a female leader of the Indochina Communist Party once used to print propaganda leaflets in Long An from 1936-1939. The fashion section is full of jewellery and skilfully crafted clothing, including batik and woven garments.