Vietnam lacks specialists, machines for preserving antiques
VietNamNet Bridge - At the Vietnam National Museum of History, one officer is responsible for preserving and repairing many different items, and antiques are examined with X-ray machines from hospitals.


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Vietnam lacks specialists, machines for preserving antiques




The preservation division of the museum is in three rooms, each of which covers an area of 20 square meters. When reporters visited, three people were working with a high-frequency wave cleaner, tools, and chemicals, with many antiques on a table.

Nguyen Thi Lan, one of three officers, soaked pieces of cotton into chemicals and used the cotton to clean a Chinese vase. Meanwhile, her two colleagues tried to treat a stain on a small bronze Buddha statue.

Over 200,000 exhibits are displayed at the National Museum of History, including objects that are considered national treasures.

Nguyen Thi Huong Thom, head of the preservation division, said the three officers all graduated from the Culture University. To become experienced preservation workers, they had to attend many training courses in Vietnam and overseas in the last 10 years.

Over 200,000 exhibits are displayed at the National Museum of History, including objects that are considered national treasures.

The museum is believed to have the best preservation work in Vietnam. Thom said officers have opportunities to meet foreign and Vietnamese specialists. 

She said most of the staff are graduates from the Culture University and have deep knowledge on social sciences, but the work at the museum requires knowledge in natural sciences.

According to Thom, unlike other countries, in Vietnam, each person has to undertake many different kinds of work. 

“Lan, for example, yesterday had to treat problems with bronze items, but today has to use a sewing needle to treat weaving products, and she may have to deal with pottery tomorrow,” Thom said.

The officers have to attend training courses regularly, especially training courses provided by Belgian specialists, to update their knowledge. They also have to consult biologists and chemists, craftsmen and painters while repairing objects.

Vietnam also lacks facilities to carry out preservation.

“Specialized machines and equipment are too expensive,” said Pham Quoc Quan, former director of the museum.

Medical X-ray machines are used to ‘examine’ antiques instead of specialized machines. However, the problem is that the X-ray machines can be used only for small objects, while it is a problem to carry objects from the museum to hospitals.

The museum in the last few years has received strong support from the international community. Germany, for example, has donated steam cleaners, microscopes, and light meters, while Belgium has given dryers, ultrasonic tanks and sand-spraying machines.


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Mai Thanh

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