Culture Culture

21/04/2020 - 09:49

Museums must be a cultural symbol

According to the policy of the province, the Le Loi route will be turned into a museum street. To attract visitors, the museums need investment to become a living space, a symbol of the culture of this land.

Children baking at Hue Cultural Museum

Excitement will attract visitors

On the occasion of the Lunar New Year holiday, students from Hue SOS Children's Village and some schools in Hue City were very excited to participate in creating animal paintings from leaves at Diem Phung Thi Art Center. For children, the experience with using crayons on leaves was completely new and exciting.

This was an activity within the framework of a contemporary installation exhibition entitled "Organic matter" by artist Yumiko Ono (from Japan), organized by Hue Museum of Fine Arts. The program not only provided students with a new experience with leaf and flower mosaics, it also educated them about loving the environment through appreciating each leaf. Activities like these both bring a living space to the museum and cultivate artistic love for the younger generation.

In an effort to revive Hue culture, in recent years, Hue Cultural Museum has held exhibition spaces for traditional Tet, traditional Ao Dai, cuisine, weddings, oriental medicine, books, newspapers, etc. These exhibition spaces were vividly and authentically recreated by Hue Cultural Museum with related materials, images and objects.

The live performance of artisans, living witnesses, also helps present to viewers a truly vivid and emotional display space, creates interaction and connects the public with ancient values.

Under the guidance of artisans, Hue Cultural Museum also organized traditional cake-making experience, making edible toy figurines, making lanterns, paper tambourines, Sinh village styled pictures... for children. The children were involved in the baking process and traditional craft products so they were very excited.

These exhibitions and interactive displays attracted a large number of people to visit and enjoy. However, forms of outreach to viewers through modern method displays are not yet common in museums.

According to Dr. Phan Thanh Hai, Director of the Department of Culture and Sports, at the moment, displays at museums are mainly single-line interactive displays, not multi-dimensional ones. This decreases the museum’s appeal. Activities for children to visit, have fun and draw in museums are multi-dimensional interactions but these are still limited.

Investments needed

Thua Thien Hue currently has 7 museums, including 5 state-owned museums and 2 private museums. Although the museums have made great efforts in modernizing operations and renovating the exhibits, the number of visitors is still modest.

Dr. Tran Dinh Hang, Head of Vietnam Institute of Culture and Arts in Hue, said that in the long-standing opinion of people, museums are places of antiques and lifeless artifacts. Thus, it is difficult to attract viewers due to the lack of lively and exciting complementary activities.

In European countries, the model of museum of life (Musée de la vie) is highly regarded and emphasized with the addition of many lively activities, as a form of re-enactment and practice of cultural life. As a result, the new museums are appealing enough to attract tourists and local residents, becoming a true cultural and tourist destination. This is a possible direction, which needs more investment and development in the future.

According to Dr. Phan Thanh Hai, the system of public museums is weak because investments have been inadequate and inefficient. Apart from the newly built Ho Chi Minh Museum, the other museums have to make use of the old facilities. The History Museum is temporarily accommodated in Quoc Tu Giam; Hue Museum of Royal Antiquities is in Long An Palace, which was built in 1923.

Apart from the existing Diem Phung Thi Art Center and the existing Le Ba Dang Art Center, Hue Fine Arts Museum still has no headquarters and no art gallery.

The collections of artifacts of the museums are also not very abundant. Hue Museum of Royal Antiquities currently manages 13,000 artifacts, but the venue can only display up to 500 artifacts. The History Museum has tens of thousands of artifacts, but to become an attractive display system, it is necessary to select the quintessence and collect additional items. The number of works of Hue Museum of Fine Arts is not large and needs new additions.

In Western countries, the museum is considered a cultural education space. Schools and families often go to museums to visit and have fun on the weekend and to gradually absorb cultural values. To do so, the museum space must meet standards, and mechanisms and policies must be created so that museums can organize accompanying services and cultural activities...

Dr. Phan Thanh Hai emphasized that, in order to take advantage and promote their values, the museums require investments in facilities, equipment and human resource. At the same time, there need to be policies to encourage socialization of the museum, bringing the whole society to participate in many ways: making people and communities consider it a cultural symbol to contribute resources, effort and wisdom, and donate objects and antiques. Or, campaigning to buy artifacts that are from Hue but still are located elsewhere.

Story and photo: MINH HIEN