Women’s Museum in Hanoi – the role of women in the history of Vietnam

Tired of the same type of art galleries and boring, similar to each other, museums. We are ready to argue that you have not yet been to the Vietnamese Women's Museum, located in Hanoi, Vietnam.

General information about the museum

Where: 36 Lý Thường Kiệt, Hàng Bài, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội
Cost of admission ticket (October 2017) : 30 000 d
Cost of audio guide (available in English, French and Vietnamese): 30 000 d
Average visit duration : 2 hours
Website: http://www.womenmuseum.org.vn
Museum of Women. main entrance
Central input

History of the museum

Almost every museum devoted to history is another reminder of the role of men in the development of mankind. Generals, philosophers, politicians – they make fortunes, unleash wars, form philosophical schools. With rare exception, women loom in the background, supporting the life of great thinkers. But is it really so? What place in the history of the country or even the world belongs to a woman? The beautiful half of Vietnam decided to find the answer to this question. So, in 1987, at the initiative of the Vietnamese Women's Union, a unique project was launched that helped highlight the life and role of the Vietnamese woman in history. The Union managed to collect an extensive collection of materials from all over the country: more than 20,000 objects. In 1995 the museum opened its doors to visitors.

October 20, the whole of Vietnam celebrates the Day of the Vietnamese woman, so going to the museum these days is more than ever the way. It does not really matter whether you consider yourself an adherent of the patriarchate or share the ideas of feminism: the museum is a must-visit. Moreover, it is equipped with air conditioning, so you do not and can not have excuses.

Permanent exhibition

The museum is located on five floors, each reveals one of the sides of a woman's life. The first – only a fact-finding: the hall, in which you can see the statue. This is a strong woman who serves the interests of her family and is ready at any moment to sacrifice herself for the sake of the Motherland. We, as former citizens of the Soviet Union, can describe such a sculpture with closed eyes: the main attributes are the baby in the hands and patriotism in the eyes.

On the second floor you will learn about the life and family life of a Vietnamese woman. Forget the stories that Vietnam is an exclusively patriarchal society. Here there are still matriarchal tribes, in which the right to choose a spouse belongs to a girl.

Vietnamese woman on a bike with a bundle of boxes behind her back
The fragile Vietnamese woman

Be sure to watch a short documentary about the life of street vendors (as well as other films about Vietnam ): their unpretentious but very moving stories will force you to look at their work and way of life. Be sure that the results of your pedometer for the day are simply ridiculous compared to the distances that these fragile-looking women overcome.

The third floor can impress even thick-skinned warriors: A woman does not have a place in the war, you will say. But what does she do when war comes to her house? She takes up arms. The museum keeps information about the repeated victories of Vietnamese women-generals over the Chinese conquerors. Or here is something that will change your view of the world: in 1789 a detachment of combat elephants under the command of a female general (in Vietnamese its name sounds like Bui Thi Xuan) won and helped to oust from the country an army of the enemy, consisting of 290,000 soldiers . Let me remind you that this year America received its first president (a man, of course), and France celebrated the capture of the Bastille. And here elephants. Fighting. And a woman who carried out a successful military operation.

Of course, here more talk about the recent past. The twentieth century is the century of terrible trials for Vietnam: the struggle for independence, numerous civil wars, bombing. Again and again, women literally dragged out the country, working in the fields and in partisan detachments, providing medical assistance to the wounded soldiers. You will not be indifferent to one of the most famous photographs, in which a tiny Vietnamese girl, whose height hardly reaches one and a half meters, leads on the sight of a huge American. When I asked a Vietnamese guy if he knew the name of this girl, he replied that he did not, because in this photo there is nothing special: during the Vietnam War with America, every girl was a real hero.

Women doctors, women spies, women poets, winners of prizes, fighters for the freedom of their people, mothers-heroines. Dozens of roles, and none of them is secondary.

Vietnamese women's clothes
The fourth floor is devoted to fashion

The fourth floor is devoted to fashion. Here you will see folk costumes in different variations, depending on the place of residence of the community. You can trace the whole evolution of women's clothing, the crown of which was Aozay – a symbol of femininity, chastity and tenderness. An interesting detail: the dress covers almost the entire body, except for a small triangle of skin on the side (a modest hint of sensuality).

Temporary exposition

Vietnamese grandmother smiling
A bit like our village grandmothers, is not it?

The museum periodically hosts exhibitions that will help you learn about some religious customs or holidays . The main characters, of course, are women. The fifth floor is devoted to contemporary art: here you can see the work of already famous or just beginning artists.

Impression from the museum

The museum changes the world outlook: general facts recede under the onslaught of real stories. Here you see the faces of real people. In the educational plan, its value can not be overestimated: here are collected the results of painstaking work of archaeologists and folklorists, historians and fashion designers, ethnologists and sociologists who will help you to even better know Vietnam.

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