Culture Culture

02/07/2020 - 05:25

From Quoc Tu Giam to Museum of Education and Examinations

As directed by Mr. Phan Ngoc Tho, Chairman of the Provincial People's Committee, after the Museum of History is relocated to the new place, Hue Monuments Conservation Center needs to consider building a museum about education and examinations at Quoc Tu Giam (Royal National University).

Documents and artifacts about education and examinations on display at the exhibition “Pens and Ink of a Time” by Hue Monuments Conservation Center

A unique space

Quoc Tu Giam is the only feudal university relic which remains now in our country. It is a unique and valuable historical and cultural relic and a symbol of the “land of learning” and the imperial capital city. During its existence, Quoc Tu Giam contributed greatly to training talented people for the country. Among more than 500 doctorates of the Nguyen Dynasty, many did study at this university.

After the artifacts of the Museum of History are relocated, Chairman Phan Ngoc Tho suggests that Hue Monuments Conservation Center should turn the relic into a museum of education and examinations in order to preserve and teach younger generations the pride in the “land of learning.”

After taking over the relic of Quoc Tu Giam, Hue Monuments Conservation Center intends to use this place as an extension for Hue Museum of Royal Antiquities because Long An Palace is becoming too small for the large number of antiques kept by the museum. 

At Di Luan Duong, Hue Monuments Conservation Center intends to collect artifacts and prepare contents for a special exhibition about education and examinations of the Nguyen Dynasty and the tradition of education of Thua Thien Hue.

Documents and artifacts about education and examinations on display at the exhibition “Pens and Ink of a Time”

According to Mr. Nguyen Phuoc Hai Trung, Deputy Director of Hue Monuments Conservation Center, this space will display original artifacts and restored artifacts, paintings, photographs, Emperors’ poetry, and various types of documents with a view to providing an overview of the formation and development of Quoc Tu Giam throughout the history, the educational and training policies, the tradition and the achievements of education of the Nguyen Dynasty, affirming the tradition of the “land of learning.” At the same time, a specialized exhibition about “Learning Encouragement Poetry” by the Nguyen Emperors through documents and calligraphy will be organized. 

Hue Monuments Conservation Center intends to create a space for students to experience and learn about the royal culture by playing interactive games, drawing royal court patterns and playing xam huong, etc.

In addition, there will be theatricalized shows depicting examinations in the old days and students will be characters of the stories. At Hue Festivals, (doctor of) martial art contests will be reenacted on the yard in front of Di Luan Duong.

Especially at the end of the school year, the Department of Education and Training will collaborate with Hue Monuments Conservation Center to hold a ceremony to honor excellent students at Quoc Tu Giam. The ceremony is of the modern time, but combined with tradition through the costume of ao dai, music and proper settings with a view to combining education with heritage.

Difficulties in artifacts

The researcher Ho Vinh was very glad at the news about building the museum for education and examinations since he had long dreamt about such a place. “Thuan Hoa is “land of learning.” It has trained many talented people for the country. There must be a place to keep and introduce relevant documents and artifacts of not only the feudal time, but also nowadays. It will be a unique place in Hue.”

According to the researcher Tran Dinh Hang, Director of the Vietnam National Institute of Culture and Arts Studies in Hue, in the immediate future, it is necessary to focus on organizing exhibitions about education and examinations at Di Luan Duong, then gradually we turn it into a museum. Since Di Luan Duong - Quoc Tu Giam represented the education of the whole country of Dai Nam in the past, it must be therefore an open space for education of the country in general, not of Thua Thien Hue only.

In addition to displaying artifacts about education and examinations such as degrees, pens and ink, learning tools and materials honoring those who passed examinations, it is possible to build an education hall for first day of school ceremonies, school-year ending ceremonies, award ceremonies, scholarship granting ceremonies, etc. Those ceremonies, if well organized, will be very significant.

Story and photos: MINH HIEN