What was once the French Ministry of Information is today one of Hanoi’s most prized destinations for lovers of art and history. The Fine Arts Museum proudly showcases rich traditions of stone carving, woodwork and painting, and displays examples pulled from across the nation. Travelers will find impressive sculptures of the thousand-eyed, thousand-armed goddess of compassion, Guan Tin, as well as contemporary art and old-school artifacts. A vast collection of handmade ceramics is located in the basement and easy to miss. History and political buffs will find plenty of propaganda posters amid the galleries, although curators seem to be amping up efforts to expand collections in traditional and folklore galleries, too.
The museum is located at 66 Nguyen Thai Hoc, across the street from the Temple of Literature. It is open daily from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. Travelers interested in purchasing antique reproductions can do so here, but be sure to request certifications, which will make exiting customs more manageable.