HCM City’s private museums attract crowds

March 11, 2018 - 09:00

Private museums in HCM City have changed their ways of doing business and are pulling more customers away from theatres and cinemas.

The 3D Artinus Museum, located on 4,000 square metres, features many huge 3D paintings by 15 Korean artists. The museum is a popular site for children. Photo Lê Anh Vũ
Viet Nam News

by Thu Anh

Private museums in HCM City have changed their ways of doing business and are pulling more audiences away from theatres and cinemas.

Visitors to HCM City, for example, enjoy posing for photos at the Wax Museum of Vietnamese Artists, known informally as Madame Tussauds Việt Nam, a new tourist destination which opened last year. 

The museum features more than 100 life-size wax models of artists working in theatre, film and music.

Southerners, particularly older visitors, appreciate the wax models of famous artists in cải lương (reformed opera), a genre of southern traditional theatre, such as People’s Artist Đinh Bằng Phi, and People’s Artist Huỳnh Nga, who are recognised as gurus of the art. 

Children love posing with wax models of comic artists Thành Lộc and Đại Nghĩa, both of whom have staged more than 200 plays and theatre shows aimed at young audiences.

Students visit the museum to research photographs, pictures and documents about Vietnamese theatre and music, and artists of different generations, such as late music producer and cultural researcher Trần Văn Khê and late composers Văn Cao and Bắc Sơn.   

“The Vietnamese Wax Model Company invested more than VNĐ35 billion (US$1.5 million) to build the museum. We plan to add more models,” said Nguyễn Thị Diệu, the museum’s director.

Diệu, who is one of the museum’s investors, said the museum had worked with tourist agencies to organise new tours aimed at visitors in southern provinces.

“We will offer traditional music performances to meet market demand,” she said.  

Traditional medicine

The FITO Museum of Vietnamese Traditional Medicine in District 10 of 3,000 objects used by herbalists in traditional Vietnamese medicine date back to the Stone Age, including equipment and materials. 

The 600sq.m museum includes 18 rooms, with some displaying ancient objects such as wooden and stone root slicers invented more than 2,000 years ago.

Featured items are a 2,000-year-old boat-shaped mortar used to grind herbs and plants and iron and bronze water pots of the 13th and 16th centuries from the northern province of Phú Thọ used by members of Việt Nam’s royal families.

A corner of the privately owned Wax Museum of Vietnamese Artists in HCM City. Photo courtesy of the museum
Children love visiting the 3D Artinus Museum at 9 Tân Hưng Street in District 7. Photo Lê Anh Vũ
The Factory Contemporary Arts Centre in District 2 offers different showcases featuring paintings, sculpture, performance art and installations. Photo courtesy of the centre

The museum also houses rare medical books, including some authored by Hải Thượng Lãn Ông, a famous herbalist who developed traditional medicine in the 18th century.

The museum also allows guests to mix and sample their own remedies, under guidance.

“Việt Nam has lost some of its knowledge about traditional medicine and old documents kept by herbalists are increasingly hard to find,” said cultural researcher Lê Khắc Tâm, owner of the traditional medicine company FITO Pharma Corporation, an investor in the museum.

Tâm has spent 20 years traversing the country and visiting other countries to collect medicinal materials, books, documents, artefacts and interesting tales on anything related to Vietnamese traditional medicine.

Tâm said the museum has cooperated with other museums in HCM City to host exhibitions on Vietnamese traditional medicine.

One of the city’s favourite entertainment centres for young people is the Contemporary Arts Centre in District 2. The centre includes different showcases featuring paintings, sculpture, performance art and installations.

Workshops, seminars and forums on contemporary art hosted by young Vietnamese and foreign artists are featured.  

It organised exhibitions for young artists such as Nguyễn Thúy Hằng, Lê Thanh Tùng and Cao Hoàng Long. 

The centre also has small libraries and coffee shops containing books and magazines on art, music, dance and theatre.

A popular site for children is the 3D Artinus Museum at 9 Tân Hưng Street in District 7.

The museum is located on 4,000 square metres featuring many huge 3D paintings by 15 South Korean artists.

It features nine subjects like the Jungle, Ocean, Love, Fairy Tale and Love. All of the images contain sound and light effects.

“My friends and I love visiting 3D Artinus because it offers a wonderful world,” said Nguyễn Thúy An, a third-grade student at Nguyễn Bỉnh Khiêm Primary School. VNS