Contrary to popular belief, Vietnam does not contain just one, big, homogenous culture, rather, the country of Vietnam is just as varied a cultural melting pot as the modern day United States, or ancient Italy. The Museum of Ethnology, which can be found in the Ciau Gay district of Hanoi, presents in depth introductions to all of the cultures of Vietnam, north and south alike. Outdoor exhibits include houses built in traditional styles with original pieces of ancient Vietnamese furniture within, while indoor exhibits showcase age old artifacts of importance to cultural and religious rituals, as well as tools, clothing and other items, all providing evidence and clues as to how the ancient people of Vietnam once lived. All of this is explained through information as well as the museum staff, many of whom speak fluent English.
In total, there are about 15,000 artifacts, 40,000 photographs, slides, films and tapes. There are also exhibits here dedicated to more recent history, such as the era of French colonial rule. Open to the public from 8:30am to 5:30pm, the museum is closed on Mondays.