|Playing with fire: A house on stilts owned by the Muong ethnic people which accommodates gongs and a library in the Muong Cultural Space Museum. — Photo courtesy of the museum
HA NOI (VNS)— A council will be set up to assess the total damage to the Muong Cultural Space Museum in Hoa Binh Province, after a fire started by a group of tourists engulfed the hundred-year old property.
Lang House, attached to the Muong ethnic minority people, caught fire after a group of tourists built a fire inside the house to cook maize, without asking for permission. The stilt house's walls and roofs and over 200 exhibits were burnt, leaving behind only timber poles and floor.
The council will attempt to establish the direct involvement with input from experts including Dr Nguyen Van Huy, former director of Viet Nam Museum of Ethnology, and historian Duong Trung Quoc, said the museum's director Vu Duc Hieu in a press release yesterday.
"The move will only assess the economic value of the objects even though their spiritual, cultural and historical values are intangible," said Hieu.
"What matters most is how we can better preserve and develop what we have here in the museum."
In another development, provincial police on Sunday moved to prosecute those that violated fire regulations. Earlier, police had identified four tourists, allegedly involved in the fire, who were residing in the province.
Hieu said the museum would try to restore the house and manage the aftermath of the incident, although predicted a long process.
"The house and its belongings, used to showcase the culture of the highest stratum in the ancient Muong society were burnt. Luckily, the timber frame and floor remain. The structure's major pillars are fixable because only their outer shells were affected by the flames," Hieu stressed.
"We would like to reaffirm that the flames have not burnt away thousands of years of culture," he added.
As scheduled, the Lang House, a major structure of the Muong Cultural Space Museum, will become a major venue for cultural and artistic activities for the Northwestern Culture Festival Day in the province.
The museum will continue to play an active role in the event, which starts on November 16.
"We will turn this loss into a cultural event, an artistic "treatment" to raise awareness to protect our traditional culture through a display of contemporary art works during the festival," Hieu said. — VNS