The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic has suspended the operation of museums in Hanoi and caused direct effects of the loss of the tourism industry, but it is actually a chance for museums to renovate their service packages during the temporary closure.

Adapting to the new situation

Vietnam National Museum of History. Photo: Hanoi Department of Tourism 

Many museums in the capital city have taken advantage of the Covid-19 pandemic as an opportunity to check, preserve, and take care of artifacts, in addition to collecting more documents and items, repairing and renovating facilities, and providing professional training for employees to make it more attractive when reopening.

Hanoi Museum, located in Pham Hung Street, has designed and constructed a new exhibition area with the theme “Hanoi’s Nature”. As finished, visitors will be able to visit and learn the typical features in the natural diversity of Hanoi through the rich and unique system of artifacts, images, and documents in the support of modern technology.

Deputy Director of the Hanoi Museum Dang Minh Ve told The Hanoi Times that this exhibition area is built with the support of local and international scientists, historical and cultural researchers, and leading museum experts.

“We expect that the renovation in the display and approach will attract more visitors and provide them with interesting experiences.”

Visitors to Hanoi Museum. Photo courtesy of the museum  

Meanwhile, the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology has developed new programs with various themes, especially for families on holidays and special events.

Deputy Director of the museum Tran Hong Hanh said: “We aim to create a playground for children during summer vacation so that their parents can join them in folk games, watch water puppetry, learn about traditional crafts with artisans.”

She said the museum has enforced regulations on pandemic prevention and control to visitors such as checking body temperature, asking visitors to keep a safe distance, offering them free masks, among other measures.

Online tours

Vietnam Fine Arts Museum. Photo: Cao Hanh Quyen

While waiting for the new decision from the Hanoi authorities to reopen services, many museums have applied digital solutions to offer online tours for visitors.

According to Deputy Director of the Vietnam National Museum of Nature Vu Van Lien, the museum has built a virtual museum with information and articles to enrich visitors’ knowledge.

“After the Covid-19 pandemic is controlled, we will offer interesting activities for students, our targeted customers, such as making insect specimens, miniatures of dinosaur fossils, as well as sea creatures and animal masks. These activities not only help them learn more about the natural world but also create a habit of visiting museums from an early age,” Lien said.

The Vietnam Fine Arts Museum (VFA) has recently launched the iMuseum VFA app.

Running on both Android and iOS platforms and using QR code scanning and iBeacon technology, it provides high-quality audio, text, and photos, helping users visit the museum online and explore some 100 typical works in the museum’s regular display system in eight languages: Vietnamese, English, French, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Spanish and Italian (the German language will be added in the coming time).

Hanoi children visit the Vietnam National Museum of Nature. Photo courtesy of the museum 

In order to maintain the connection with visitors during and after the pandemic, the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology has built a virtual exhibition space via its social networks and an outdoor open exhibition at the museum which introduces to the public museum’s typical images, spaces, and activities. Thanks to these activities, people are able to learn and discover the ethnic groups in Vietnam and some countries around the world right from entering the museum’s premises.

The Vietnam National Museum of History has been gathering documents to digitize all national treasures preserved here. It is the first museum in Vietnam to apply 3D technology since 2013 and now it is digitizing all of the artifacts.

Director of the museum Nguyen Van Doan told The Hanoi Times: “In the rapid development of technology 4.0 and the complicated waves of the Covid-19 pandemic, museums need to renovate to attract more visitors. This is a long road with many challenges to overcome.”

The renovation of museums is one of many activities that Hanoi has been conducting to warm up the local tourism industry. 

The capital city has recently asked travel businesses to create tourism products inside the city, in which it will serve Hanoians first when many parts of Vietnam have still applied social distancing due to the Covid-19 outbreak. They will also cooperate with other cities and provinces where have controlled the pandemic such as Quang Ninh, Ninh Binh, Son La, and Lai Chau, to meet the travel demand of the people and gradually revive the economy.