When talking about gender equality, the term and acknowledgment have only been around for a short time, for Western and developed countries, it’s not uncommon or hard to find a museum dedicated to women, but for countries like Vietnam however, it kind of is. In the entire country of Vietnam, you can only find one museum that fits into such category, the Women’s Museum of Vietnam, located in its capital city, Hanoi.
The museum was founded in 1987, being used under the Women Associations of Vietnam with the main purposes of studying, preserving and presenting to the world about the invaluable pieces of tangible and intangible items that are incredibly rich in culture and history of the women of Vietnam. Ever since the building started to be in operation, it has been pleasing hundreds of thousands of visitors, not only from the population in all of Vietnam but also from all over the entire world every year. And by the time of 2010, the museum was reopened after a long 4 years required for its upgrade. The upgrade included the readjustment of the displays which now is split into 3 main categories, the importance of women in families, history and also about their fashion over the years. And now, the museum holds over 25000 documents and artifacts that are related to the Vietnamese women.
With over 25000 pieces of artifacts, which includes documents, and are sorted out by their materials, woods, paper, metal, cotton and even glass and more but sadly, it was only capable for them to collect things from 1970 and onward, with each and every single one of them has their own story to tell. The main ways of display used by the museum are divided into 3 ways, regular or fixed displays, online displays which show people about different events live. And Mobile displays which basically are historical displays that are organized regularly different towns and cities which mainly aim for schools and university.
For the fixed displays, there are over 1000 items that can be viewed throughout the 2nd, 3rd and 4th floors which are documents, pictures, and other artifacts. With the 2nd tells the story about the life cycle of the Vietnamese women by showing how things work in ceremonies, customs, love life, marriage, childbirth and their roles in families. With the 3rd floor showing the history and the 4th displaying the fashion which was favorable by the women back in the time.
For the 2nd floor, you can be expected to be greeted with the everyday live items that would be common to be seen around back in the days that were owned by grown women. For the visitors, from even abroad, it is very common to see them getting attracted to them, being drawn into their richness of the culture, of their capability of making people painting the picture of what the women’s live was like from back then, things like a special kind of wooden box for special certain types of events, lucky charms, etc.
Moving on to the 3rd floor, you would get to experience the song about the unsung heroes back when the entire country was engulfed in war. These songs were sung by the items owned by women soldiers, not only their gears but the things they use in everyday life and even pieces of clothing and accessories.
And then lastly, the 4th, it is the clothing that they wear takes the spotlight, from casual everyday clothing to the ones for traditional and special events, all have their own charms and beauty that can keep anyone pre-occupied for a long period of time.
Also, aside from the fixed and usual artifacts being displayed most of the time, it is also to be expected that the museum to organize special occasions and events that bring out the injustice, the lack of fairness and the position of disadvantages that women and a lot of people faces.
The museum also has a project going for a long time now, which helps children at the age of 7 to 15 enhance the children’s ability to research, to learn, to exchange knowledge… which all takes place at the museum itself.
After the trip to the museum, you can easily find a place to sit down, relax, have a cup of coffee and just let your thoughts flow, just let all you have seen to go around inside your mind in a coffee shop on the front of the museum which used to be a part of its territory.
So some may still ask why visit it? Not only that it is the only one in the entire country of Vietnam, it has also been received countless awards and nominations on the top and highest list of the best and most attracted museum in all of Asia from the year of 2012 to now, by various organizations and even the ever famous Tripadvisor.