The Vietnam National Museum of History is another of Hanoi’s major institutions housed within an elegant French colonial building. A harmonious blend of early 20th century European and eastern architecture, the building has many interesting design features to admire while viewing the exhibits.
Through vivid displays, the Vietnam National Museum of History presents the country’s origins chronologically through the ages, starting with fossils and priceless antiques, then moving to the present day. Guided tours are available in English and French, which is a good option as English descriptions are somewhat limited.
There are two permanent exhibits that split Vietnamese cultural history between two separate buildings. The main museum building houses exhibits from prehistory to the end of the Nguyen Dynasty.
Displays from the mid-19th century to the present day are located in the former Museum of the Vietnamese Revolution across the road, which is now an annexe of the Vietnam National Museum of History.
The National Museum of History has a range of fossils and items from the Neolithic period, although the most eye-catching ancient artefacts include an impressive bronze drum and statues dating from the Khmer and Champa kingdoms.
Furthermore, there is a surprising number of well-preserved items of jewellery, ceramics and stone carvings of the Dong Son era, dating back several thousand years. There are multiple exhibits at the museum that are designated as national treasures, making this collection of ancient relics s the city’s finest.
The second facility, across the street, focuses on the mid-19th century to the present day, highlighting the revolutionary struggle, the birth of the Communist Party, and the Vietnam War. Inside, visitors will find propaganda photos as well as various documents, maps and everyday items including modern appliances.
There are also some interesting displays, although they are less visually appealing in comparison to the historic exhibits in the main museum building.
The museum is located in the heart of Hanoi, close to many other attractions including Hoàn Kiem Lake and Hanoi Opera House. It is served by several bus routes including the no. 02, 34, 44, 49, and 51, and being that there are a plethora of other national museums within Hanoi, you can spend a day jumping between each of the locations.
Address: 216 Đường Trần Quang Khải, Tràng Tiền, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam
Phone: +84 24 3825 2853
Season: Tuesday – Sunday| 8 AM – 12 PM | 1:30 PM – 5 PM