Located in the heart of Hanoi, the Vietnamese Women’s Museum is a modern memorial dedicated to showcasing the outstanding creative and political contributions Vietnamese women have made to society and culture. Textiles, fashion, stories, portraits and art made by Vietnam’s truly heroic and talented women are beautifully curated over four floors, making the museum a must see sight for anyone passionate about women’s studies.
1. Fashion and Textiles
Starting from the top and working our way down, level four boasts a cornucopia of impressive cultural dress, textiles and jewelery sourced from a sweeping selection of Vietnams 54 ethic minorities. Examining traditional techniques, symbolic meanings, similarities and differences in visual identities, and unique beauty regimes from one group to the next, this gallery cannot fail to exert its authority in promoting Vietnam as a leading country in SEA filled with exceptionally creative and skilled women.
The museum, which is managed by the Vietnamese Women’s Union, will leave everyone feeling inspired and enlightened regardless of their gender.
2. Family Life
Daily life, coming of age, births and marriages are the primary focus of the Women In Family exhibition, where practices up and down the country are as diverse as they are surprising. My favorite pieces were discovering the meanings of spiritual motifs sewn into baby carriers, learning why the Mnong Gar people save an entire families umbilical cords in the kitchen, and finally, ever so simply, admiring the splendid selection of stunning wedding fashions.
3. Mother Goddess
Possibly my favorite topic in the whole of Vietnam (whilst also being one of the most complicated to understand) is the garish and flamboyant spiritual rituals of Mother Goddess worship. Officially listed as one of UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage’s to protect, the fascinating Mother Goddess Pure Heart – Beauty – Joy exhibition is located in the west wing between levels one and two. Hosting excellent examples and explanations of spirit medium costumes, performances, temple offerings and interviews with devotees, this exhibit will give you the most visually exciting and easy to understand chance at learning more about this special spiritual practice.
4. Women in the War
Filled with harrowing and heroic accounts of Vietnamese women’s efforts and contributions during the two resistance wars, this gallery has a insightful array of poignant propaganda posters, letters and artifacts which is commonly referred to as the highlight of the museum.
Just two street south of Hoan Kiem Lake, the Vietnamese Women’s Museum is a excellent way to spend a morning educating yourself about Vietnamese culture. Although Vietnam is a patriarchal country, women are respected and recognised as being the backbone to which the resilient society stands upon. The museum which is managed by the Vietnamese Women’s Union will leave everyone feeling inspired and enlightened regardless of gender.
Opening hours: Every day 8am – 5pm Address: 36 Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem, Ha Noi Map Admission: 30.000 VND ($1.30) Audio Guide: 30.00 VND Languages: Vietnamese, English and French.
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