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October 27, 2021, 5:58 pm

Huynh Phuoc Hue’s life struggle for Coi Nguon Museum

(13:30:12 PM 12/02/2014)
( - Tourists heading to Phu Quoc Island off Kien Giang Province may be recommended to visit Coi Nguon Museum to take an overview on the culture and history of the island.

Huynh Phuoc Hue poses next to some exhibits at his Coi Nguon Museum on Phu Quoc Island off Kien Giang Province.

However, not many people know that the museum was the dream of local man Huynh Phuoc Hue whose passion and lifelong struggle brought the museum to life.


The five-storey private museum covering an area of over 1,000 square meters on a hill in Duong Dong Town on the western coast displays nearly 5,000 objects, including 3,000 antiques salvaged from sites or from sunken ships found around the island. All the artifacts were collected by Hue over a 15-year period before he established the museum in 2009.


Hue went to university in HCMC way back in 1995 and was inspired after so many people asked him about the island. He began to realize that the island was very attractive to other people and he nourished his dream to open a place to introduce his hometown’s culture and history to other people.


“People asked me if there were any motorbikes on the island or about the way Phu Quoc people dressed. I rummaged through many books on the island from libraries to be able to give my friends an insight into the island,” said Hue. He added that the decisive moment came when a teacher told him that you had to teach children to love their birthplace before asking them to love the nation.


Therefore, after graduation and working for a few years, Hue returned to the island and started building his dream firstly with a café designed and decorated by clam shells and tree trunks and roots taken from the sea and the forest.


“I wanted to tell locals that everything on the island is worthy even rustic things, so they would be proud of the place where they are sheltering,” said Hue.


Hue gradually collected antiques and artifacts from divers and local farmers, making his café a gallery exhibiting many precious wooden products, ceramic and bronze objects as well as many bones of aquatic species. “Every single thing here has its own story, telling people about the history and lifestyle of the island,” Hue said. His museum boasts over 100 pieces dating back 2,000 years, proving that people have lived on the island for a long time.


With a desire to gleam more information on the island, Hue got a job as a tour guide on the island. He collected information and published it in a guide book for Phu Quoc tourism.


After earning more money, Hue quit his job and returned to his passion of collecting antiques for his café. When a guest from the cultural heritage department visited the café and asked him to expand his venue into a museum, Hue started the construction of the museum in 2006 and completed it in 2009.


The highlights of the museum include the model of a wreck found many years ago on the eastern side of the island which is on display on the museum’s third floor. There are a number of axes featured on the second floor among jar tombs and antiques from the Ly and Tran dynasties, plus skeletons of dugongs, whales, crocodiles and wild boars. The jar tombs contain remains which are believed to date back to the Oc Eo Culture during the first and seventh centuries.


Moreover, there are more than 2,500 artifacts made from stone, pottery, bronze and fossil wood identified from the 15th century to the early 20th century.


There are also modern-day objects on display which can help visitors to learn more about residents’ daily lives and work. Surrounding the building are installations which represent forests and sea, featuring whale bones, tortoises and shells.


Coi Nguon Museum is located at 149 Tran Hung Dao Street, Quarter 7, Duong Dong Town, Phu Quoc Island, Kien Giang Province, tel: 077 398 0206. Admission to the museum is VND20,000. Hue has also built a tourist resort.

Source: SGT

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