Award-Winning Museum in Halong Bay
After being awarded the title of ‘construction of the year 2013’ by the Vietnam Urban Development and Planning Association, the Quang Ninh Provincial Library and Museum in Halong City is as impressive on the inside as it is on the outside.
Museology, the study of museum design, development and curating, has come a long way in the past two decades in Vietnam. Traditionally drab and rather uninspiring, Vietnamese museums have since transformed themselves into sophisticated and innovative spaces for educational development. Predictably the countries very best museums can be found in Hanoi capital, the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology and the Vietnam Women’s Museum both receiving near universal praise. But with a striking new contemporary building and continually evolving exhibitions, the Quang Ninh Provincial Library and Museum is a serious contender for the title of Vietnam’s best museum.
The construction was completed in October 2013 with an investment of 900 billion VND (43 million USD) and has three halls focusing on three distinct areas. The Library focuses on the social and geological history of Vietnam with a particular focus on Quang Ninh Province. The Museum covers the natural sciences including the unique visual appearance and the geological value of Halong Bay (earning the area two levels of UNESCO recognition). The Auditorium holds cultural performances, conferences and seminars.
With a total area of 6,500 square meters and dark reflective glass from bottom to top, the museum makes a striking impression from the outside too. The tall glass walls have been designed to reflect the beauty of nearby Halong Bay and have been inspired by coal, the signature mineral of the province.
Traditionally, visitors came to Quang Ninh Province only to see the natural world heritage that is Halong Bay. But the province is increasingly demonstrating that it is no ‘one trick pony’, and that there are many other reasons to visit this fascinating and diverse corner of North Vietnam. Along with Cat Ba Island, Yen Tu Pagoda and some lovely beaches in the vicinity, The Quang Ninh Provincial Library and Museum is just one example of why it’s a good idea to stick around after seeing the extraordinary Halong Bay.
The museum is a short taxi ride from Tuan Chau Island and The Paradise Suites Hotel and makes for a good excursion either before or after a Halong Bay Cruise. With plenty of information available in English, the museum can be visited alone or with a guide.
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