Not only accounting for half of the population, but women play an irreplaceable role in both families and society. Vietnam, which boasts such an amazingly rich culture, nails it in every way. Vietnam Women’s museum in Hanoi is a great place to provide all interesting information about these warm-hearted brave beautiful human beings.
- Location: 36 Ly Thuong Kiet Street, Hang Bai ward, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
Opening hours: 8 a.m- 5 p.m
Entrance fee: 40,000 VND/adult and 10,000 VND/children below 16
1. History of Vietnamese Women’s Museum
Vietnamese Women’s Museum was built in 1987 with the mission of spreading the public knowledge of Vietnamese women and devoting to gender equality in Vietnam and it is being run by The Women’s Union of Vietnam which is known as one of the most dynamic organizations. Since its complete inauguration in 1995, it has been successfully displayed 25,000 artifacts, photos and items with regards to Vietnamese Women contemporary life and cultural customs; also chosen to hold a number of formal exhibitions such as Ao Dai, traditional dress of Vietnamese women or artworks about ethnic minorities.
2. Highlights of Vietnamese Women’s Museum
Walking on Ly Thuong Kiet Street, your attention is probably drawn to a big colorful glass wall which shows the main contents of the museum. There are 3 parts that illustrate the important role of women in different ages and societies including: Women in Family, Women in History and Women’s Fashion.
The gate leads you to a spacious airy yard which brings about a comfortable feeling to set off a museum tour. The combination of colors and shapes implies the variety, specialty and inspiration coming from the building.
The first impression that might best deliver a tribute to all women is definitely the statue of a woman holding a baby on her shoulder, which emphasizes one of the happiest and most challenging things happening in a woman’s life – raising her kid. The way they painted and designed the statue, including how she is holding the baby helps illustrate the extent Vietnamese people value and admire women. There are also frequent galleries or exhibitions about women taken place. For example, once there was a collection of ao dai – the Vietnamese traditional dress displayed in a half-moon style around the Mother Statue in the main hall.
Looking up to the ceiling, you might notice there are a number of hanging conical hats set in a wind chime shape. Conical hats are well known for its various uses for farmers as well as a feminine countryside-oriented fashion item going perfectly with Ao Dai. The souvenir shop on the side will provide you something very typical, including Ao Dai and conical hats, which you can take back home as a gift or an ornament to remind of Vietnam.
To start with, the second floor acts like a story showing what a typical woman will go through, from girlhood to marriage and motherhood. There is an old saying “Men build the house and women make it home”, which specifies the women’s role of warming up the house with unconditional love and care.
Before getting in here, you possibly wonder if Vietnamese women wear white wedding dress and have their ceremony taken place in a church, where they live after getting married, whether there are any traditional or ethnic ceremonies related to pregnancy, midwives, delivery, naming and childcare. You will find all the answers yourselves and it is pretty sure that they are totally different from your home country or even beyond your imagination.
“Women in History” is literally exactly what is going on on the third floor. This is the space for any history- lovers who desire to dig deeper into what women did in a country that half of the history timeline was written by wars. In this context, it is undoubtedly believed that, not only did Vietnamese women do a good job as moms or wives, but they were also able to “build the house”, what’s more, help build the independence of their beloved country. They display hundreds of pictures and artifacts women used in wartime, videos about what they contributed to the revolution, how they handled life in the darkest period in the past, from 1930 to 1975.
Last but not least, the upper floor shows you “Woman Fashion”. There are 54 ethnic groups in Vietnam, let alone some are divided into several branches, and interestingly enough, each of them boasts their unique own culture and tradition expressed visibly via clothes and jewelry. You can probably tell if a woman is married by just looking at their hairstyle, which branches they belong to based on their shirt color. Moreover, you will be surprised by the art of putting on makeup, making silver jewelry and weaving, even dying teeth. How clever and creative they are!
Just right next to the museum is a multicultural exhibition area which often displays art of work from another country such as Japanese dolls. Vietnamese government, on one side, makes its all effort to protect traditional values and identity; on the other side, promotes culture exchange and international exposure. As a result, Vietnamese young generation can learn about its conventional features and broaden their horizons about different artwork.
3. How to Get to Vietnamese Women’s Museum?
The museum is located in the Old Quarter area, just 10-minute walk from Hoan Kiem Lake. It is easy to get there on foot, by motorbike, by taxi or bus number 8, 31, 36 or 49.
Women’s Museum is ranked in top 25 most attractive museums in Asia, so it will never disappoint you in terms of giving a closer overview and approach to how Vietnamese women cleverly and painstakingly take care of their family, sacrifice for our reunification and become more beautiful day after day.