This is the first museum built by a Vietnamese community to showcase a local handicraft. It will provide guidance in Vietnamese and English. The museum is located in a two-story house in the middle of the village with a total exhibition space of 300 sq m.
Objects, photos and graphics tell the story of Lai Xa’s traditional trade. There is a recreation of an old studio, an exhibit on the originators of the medium, an explanation of the process of producing photos by hand, a demonstration of old studio lighting methods, and a collection of beautiful photos by modern-day photographers in Lai Xa.
Local people hope to turn the museum and the nearby Nguyen Van Huyen Museum (built in 2014 in honor of local resident, the late Professor Nguyen Van Huyen, Minister of Education from 1946 to 1975) into tourism destinations in the capital.
The old camera on display at exhibition.
The photography trade flourished in Lai Xa village in the first half of the 20th century. In 1892, Nguyen Dinh Khanh, who was born in 1874 in the village, opened the first studio, called Khanh Ky Studio, on Hang Da Street.
Then, some 150 studios were opened all over the country with over 2,000 photographers, who were mostly based in Hanoi. Thirty-four studios were opened in then Saigon and 35 in southern provinces.
Lai Xa village has been recognized as the only village with photography as its traditional trade in Vietnam. Mr. Khanh is considered the Vietnamese originator of the craft. The village has held various training courses and has a photography club named after Mr. Khanh.
In the last ten years, the club has organized five exhibitions, three people have become members of Vietnam’s Association of Photography Artists, and five artists have been recognized by the State as photography artisans.