The National Museum of Vietnamese History is located in Hoan Kiem District. Built by the French, the building was an archaeological research institution of the French School of the Far East in 1910. It was completely renovated in 1920. Then, it was refitted between 1926 and 1932 by the architect Ernest Hébrard. The museum was acquired by the Government of Vietnam in 1958 and the museum collection was extended to national and eastern history.
The museum presents the prehistory of Vietnam (about 300 000 to 400 000 years ago) until the revolution of August 1945. It presents more than 200 000 pieces tracing the history of Vietnam.
The building housing the museum is shaped like a cupola. The building’s design is a fusion of French and Vietnamese architectures known as Indochinese architecture. The building designed by Hebrard incorporates double walls and balconies for a natural ventilation system and protection against the sun. The exhibition area is greater than 2,200 square meters (24,000 square feet).
The museum’s exhibitions are arranged in chronological order and are divided into 5 main sections. Hung and Neolithic mortuary, Bronze Age tools such as ax heads and Cham artifacts are found here. There is an intimidating sculpture of Quan Am, the goddess of mercy, with 1,000 eyes and arms. The throne, robes and other antiques adorned with the emperor of the 13 Nguyễn Dynasty are also on display.