Les photographies de cette article sont toutes issues
du site web du musée :
The photographs in this article are all
of the museum's website:
The Vietnamese woman, women...
a lovely discovery!
In Hanoi, the Museum of Ethnography is a great success. But I chose to focus on the Women's Museum. The scenographer spoke to me about this project and I was interested by this concept at the time of the reopening of the "Musée de l’Homme" in Paris and where the re-use of this name caused some polemic.
The Women's Museum, quite large, is pleasant and structured. The visit takes place on several floors, each one is thematized, the first about the woman's daily life, the second about women into the Vietnamese history and the third about many ethnic costumes of women.
The scenography is simple and efficient, combining various media and creating sets of lights from one floor to the other, thanks to a large central well linking the ground floor to the top floor, notably with a work using the famous Vietnamese hats.
The "western" museographic conception is quite perceptible. The texts are short and clear (in three languages: Vietnamese, English, French). They punctuate a discourse clearly carried by a content imagined and developed for itself and whose media - objects, films, texts ... - illustrate each idea. The visitor is taken in hand. A story, some stories are told to him.
The alternation between personal history and collective history is very interesting. Here, one is not merely the illustration of the other. The individual and the group are, in turn, the beginning point of the discourse that is gradually being built from one to the other. Each concept is anchored in a private reality, each particular narrative is expanded to the community. The public embraces the way of life of the different peoples and, at the same time, encounters individualities, perceiving some moments of life.
However, the choice of themes and their division is questioning. The main part of the museum is devoted to ethnography: marriage, birth, domestic life, work, costumes and adornment... The entry by the theme of marriage, without explanation on this choice, leave my thought of a western liberated woman a bit flabbergasted.
By the way, one floor is exclusively devoted to women in the Vietnam’s history and especially to the illustrious women of the wars of the twentieth century. Why not... But two things grieve me. First, many guide books refer to this establishment as a historical museum only. This part on women in war is at the heart of the concerns and totally obscures the rest. Whereas it’s only a quarter of the museum! No doubt the guide books have not been updated since the renovation of the museum, reopened in 2010. Secondly, this choice is not explained to visitors who finds herself plunged into this succession of female portraits without explicit link with the themes tackled before and after this space. I had the impression of missing a step, of entering another universe to which I was not prepared. Perhaps I was too much carried away by ethnographic stories...
Make a exhibition is making choices! I find it interesting to explain to visitors and not impose our view of things, such as absolute truths.
C6 Ly Thuong Kiêt, Hoan Kiêm, Ha Noi
August 15tt, 2017, Hanoï