Royal Antiquities Museum, Hue - review by Rusty Compass
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Royal Antiquities Museum, Hue

| 17 Sep 2012
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Royal Antiquities Museum, Hue
3 Le Truc St, Hue
Daily 0800 - 1130 13.30 - 1700 Closed Mondays

Our rating
17 Sep 2012

Hue's Royal Antiquities Museum was recently relocated to a newly renovated palace at its previous address by the citadel. It may be the best available collection of ornaments from dynastic times but it's a disappointment.

Note: The information provided in this review was correct at time of publishing but may change. For final clarification please check with the relevant service

NB: Following renovation work, this museum has recently relocated from An Dinh Residence to its original location on Le Truc St near Hue Citadel.

The setting for Hue's newly reopened Royal Antiquities Museum is perhaps the high point. It's right by the citadel in a nicely restored dynasty era complex.

The first problem with the museum is its name. If you assume that antiquities are objects that at minimum pre-date the Middle Ages, then this place is off to a bad start. The collection is of post 1802 Nguyen Dynasty objects.

While the porcelain, costumes and other objects spanning the 143 years of the dynasty is modest, it's enough to inspire interest.

The real frustration is the total absence of meaningful information. Captions are basic. There is no contextual information or insights into the characters of the Nguyen Dynasty - the kind of stuff that makes a museum and its collection meaningful.

Provision of good information - even a basic historical sketch - may be the least expensive task of a museum, but it's also one of the most important. And in Hue, that essential task is repeatedly ignored.

The Royal Antiquities Museum is definitely worth a visit for the those with an interest in Hue's history. But it's a long way short of what a newly renovated museum at a World Heritage listed site should offer. And if the absence of a single visitor is anything to go by, I'm not alone in my disappointment.

Travel tips
Right by the citadel.
Mark Bowyer
Mark Bowyer is the founder and publisher of Rusty Compass.
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