An exhibition of “Quoc Tu Giam – The country’s first university” is underway at the Hanoi-based Temple of Literature from December 20, 2022, to January 20, 2023.

The month-long exhibition showcases more than 200 valuable documents and artifacts from Vietnam’s first university to give viewers an insight into the country’s education system, in which two different education systems coexisted: Confucianism and Western education under French rule.

Delegates cut the ribbon to open the exhibition. Photo: Minh Anh


The exhibition is divided into two spaces: static and dynamic, indoor and outdoor. The indoor exhibition transports viewers to Quoc Tu Giam through each historical milestone, starting from the Ly dynasty (1009-1225), then the transformation under the Nguyen dynasty, and the rebirth of the monument in the contemporary era. At each stage of development, Quoc Tu Giam is marked by cultural celebrities or typical university events.

Regarding the idea of designing the indoor exhibition, Patrick Hoarau, a graphic expert and head of the exhibition design team, said: “The Temple of Literature has many doors, so we chose the design option that allows visitors to enter the exhibition space from any door.”


Part of the content is displayed indoors. Photo: Hanoigrapevine


The water wall is shown by the design team in the exhibition. Photo: Hanoigrapevine

The outdoor exhibition is in the garden area behind Dong Vu House. This space narrates the life of a Confucian student in the countryside who passed the examination in the capital with flying colors and then returned to his homeland to honor his ancestors.

Documents and artifacts in the outdoor exhibition showcase Confucian education, including examination regulations, school management, and the ceremony for exam winners to return home to thank their ancestors, Patrick Hoarau added.

Visitors can also experience interesting activities in the outdoor space, such as calligraphy writing, and couplet sentence writing, among others.

Recreation of a classroom at the Temple of Literature. Photo: Minh Anh

An outdoor display corner recreates the image of a Confucian student’s examination tent. Photo: Minh Anh

Deputy Director of the Hanoi Department of Culture and Sports Pham Thi My Hoa said: “After nearly three years since conceiving the idea, drafting the content and designing to hold the exhibition, ‘Quoc Tu Giam – The Country’s First University’ has been carried out with many new and creative things, both in static and dynamic space, as well as inside and outside.”