Forgetting the busy daily life, we went to this place to see why many people leave noisy urban areas to come here at weekends or holidays to live in a peaceful environment close to the life of Muong people. Not at all dry as the image that the name “museum” often suggests, visitors to the place will find themselves in a lively space close to the nature.
The 5ha Muong Culture Space Museum, established in 2007, is covered by the green of Wedelia chinensis plants. The plant’s small yellow flowers, which are in blossom the whole year, especially in spring, line the small paths, creating a poetic scenery. The museum’s staff also use these flowers to decorate reception desks and the lounge, giving visitors a fresh and relax atmosphere.
Welcoming us were the museum’s staff and guides who looked graceful in Muong women’s traditional costumes, along with painter Vu Duc Hieu who devoted his youth and assets to study and establish the Muong Culture Space Museum. Hieu gave us the first impression of a man of few words with melancholy eyes. Though he is called Hieu “Muong”, Hieu is actually of the majority Kinh ethnic group and born in Hanoi.
In 2000, he graduated the Hanoi Industry University in the glass technology major. He has a strong attachment to Hoa Binh as he grew up in the province and is engulfed by the unique Muong culture.
The Muong Culture Space Museum is divided into two areas: one for reproductions and the other for display. Currently, the museum is preserving about 3,000 objects and many valuable books on Muong culture. Hieu spent 10 years collecting these exhibits.
The museum is built as a miniature of the Muong society with four stilt houses corresponding to four different social strata. The first place to visit is the Lang house, demonstrating the life of the landlord class. After the Lang house is the Au house of the Lang’s servants, the Noc house of the commoners, and then the Noc Troi house of the lowest class in the Muong society.
The Muong Culture Space Museum attracts a lot of domestic and foreign visitors.
Our journey through both the reproduction and display areas at the museum ended at sunset. A dinner with typical dishes of the Muong was ready for us to enjoy.
This was also an attraction for tourists when visiting the museum, where they can not only learn about the Muong culture but also enjoy Muong dishes and sleep in stilt houses, which makes the place ideal for a short holiday or on weekends.
Visitors, especially those coming here for the first time, are sure to be impressed by such dishes as steamed forest vegetables, grilled fish, hot steamed glutinous rice and Muong wine. If you are lucky to come in the right season, there are some unique specialties such as ant egg or bee larvae.
We will definitely come back to the museum to enjoy the environment and cuisine of the Muong people again.