The date September 26, 2011 turned an important landmark in the development history of the museum sector of Vietnam with the Decision No. 1674/QD-TTg issued by Vietnamese Prime Minister, regarding to the establishment of the Vietnam National Museum of History (VNMH) by merging two leading museums, the Vietnamese Museum of History and the Vietnamese Museum of Revolution.
Within these first 5 years, the VNMH have encountered many difficulties resulted from the international and local complicated circumstances, such as the local economic crisis as well as to be a new established museum. With many efforts and energies, we have overcome all those obstacles and fulfilled our duties and met the targets to be a leading museum in the country.
Our achievements during the last 5 years can be listed as:
Reconstructed human resource with 15 divisions, 01 management board of new museum project, 250 employees, in particular stabilized and united staff to create solidarity inside organization. Human development is the key for museum. 300 turns of staff have been trained and enhanced, especially for political training, management and professions.
Academic study is important for the museum’s success in terms of museum operation, awareness unity, enhancement of profession understandings and museum curatorship. We have consolidated the Science Council and implemented many projects, thesis and studies (05 studies at ministerial level and 20 studies at grassroots level, organizing seminars and conferences locally and internationally, supplying hundreds of scholarly writings for science magazines and books.
With results of research and study, publication is our strong point. Over the last 5 years, we have published over 20 high quality study books, such as “Vietnamese paper currency”, “Museum, historical relics – inspiration of teaching and learning history for schoolchildren”, “Dong Son Culture – Collection of the Vietnam National Museum of History”, “Vietnamese ancient jewelry”, “Traditional Boats of Vietnam” (with Korea), “Flying dragon – Vietnam’s royal arts” (with France), “Japanese Culture”, “The great story of Vietnam” etc…In particular, we published our Science Announcement Book twice per year.
The researching and collecting is our key job and paid most attention. We have carried out successfully many excavations across the country. Namely, shipwreck Binh Chau (Quang Ngai), Cam Mit relic (Da Nang), Dak Lak, Gia Rai, Ba Tam pagoda (Hanoi), Vinh Nghiem pagoda (Bac Giang), Sam Mun ancient citadel (Dien Bien), Luy Lau (Bac Ninh)… Launching many collecting projects related to Dong Son culture, Sa Huynh, Champa, Oc Eo, Vietnamese marine sovereignty, Doi moi… For the last 5 years, we collected around 5000 documents, objects and archives.
Conservation and object restoration is also invested. We have reconstructed and built up standard and modern restoration systems. Exchanged and collaborated with partners, especially foreign conservation groups to support and train for new technology. At the moment, VNMH is a leading conservation center and one of the first museums in VN to have digital exhibition and object restoration.
Exhibition is the language and the most important product of the museum. We have invested a lot in exhibition, especially permanent exhibition system. There we have a modern exhibition house with led lightings, touching screens…
Mrs. Barbara Rüschoff Thale – Director of Landshaffsverband Westfalen-Lippe (LWL) Museum and Mr. Nguyen Van Cuong – Director of VNMH at the opening ceremony of exhibition “Treasures of Vietnamese Archaeology”, Germany, 10/2016
Temporary exhibition is paid attention too. Since 2011, we have got 21 temporary exhibitions at the museum site, for example: "Vietnamese marine heritage", "Vietnamese Buddhism Cultural Heritage", "Dong Son culture", "Vietnamese Sacred and Mythical Animals", "Imperial treasure - Golden books of the Nguyen dynasty", "Viet Minh Front - Movement for National Liberation (1941-1951), etc...; collaborated with local museums to present 17 temporary showcases in provinces, and 07 overseas, including "Vietnam - Great story" (Kyushu National Museum - Japan), "Dong Son culture" (Malaysia National Museum), "Ancient Civilization in Vietnam, the Early Morning in Red River” (Korea), "Flying dragon - Royal art of Vietnam" (France), "Treasures of Vietnamese archaeology" (Germany)... Those exhibitions have lured millions of local and international visitors.
Opening ceremony of temporary exhibition "Viet Minh Front - Movement for National Liberation (1941-1951)", 18-5-2016
The education and public relations have been consolidated. We have fruitful educational activities such as the programs of the "I love history" club, or "History learning". We also developed and applied the audio guide and 3D virtual museum.
Communication is a new job but invested fairly. We posted around 500 articles per year on the website. Our website www.baotanglichsu.vn supported with 3 languages (English, French, Vietnamese), promoting museum's activities, in particular our museum's exhibitions and collections and Vietnamese culture and heritage also.
Signing for co-operation in Germany
International Relations work is strengthened and generating various co-operations with regard to exhibition, archaeology, excavation, training and conservation... VNMH is a member of ICOM (International Council of Museums) and ANMA (Asian National Museums Association). The 4th ANMA's Conference was held successfully at our museum October 2013. In 5 years, we sent 164 turns of employees to overseas, received 347 turns of foreign officers. So far, VNMH has established relationships with 26 international partners.
The 4th Conference of ANMA, Hanoi, 10-2013
With those successes, on the 5th anniversary of the VNMH, we got the 1st class Labor Order and many other awards and recognitions presented by the Prime Minister and MOCST.
Within the past 5 years, thanks to the support and investment of MOCST, the co-operation from competent organizations, local and international partners, the efforts and solidarity of the organization, VNMH has gained many achievements and developed to be an important cultural institution and leading museum in Vietnam. However, as it's just a start- up of a new journey, we have a long way to go and wake up the potentials. In the coming time, as Vietnam will be involved more deeply into international integration, with regard to the heritage conservation and promotion, VNMH will also have more opportunities as well as challenges. However, we do believe that VNMH will overcome challenges, extent and increase quality to maintain a leading museum in Vietnam and grow up to be a big player in the region and the world.
Ph.D Nguyen Van Cuong - Director of Vietnam National Museum of History
(Compiled by Tran Trang)