In a town that’s practically a living museum, Hoi An also has a handful of actual museums that shed light on its fascinating history and culture. Scattered around Ancient Town, these museums tell a compelling story of Hoi An and house an intriguing collection of artifacts dating back thousands of years. Read on for a quick guide to five must-visit museums in Hoi An.

Museum of Sa Huynh Culture

149 Tran Phu Street

The Sa Huynh are the earliest civilisation known to have settled and traded in Hoi An. Archeological finds in Hoi An and the Cham Islands have given insight into the Sa Huynh culture, and show that the Sa Huynh traded jewelry and pottery with other Asian nations.

This museum showcases artifacts – including iron tools, clay pottery, and decorative ornaments – found in ancient Sa Huynh settlements in Quang Nam. Among the museum’s most prized artifacts are its collection of burial urns, a distinctive feature in Sa Huynh culture. Walk through the museum to the back balcony for an amazing view of the An Hoi Bridge and Thu Bon River.

Museum of Trade Ceramics

80 Tran Phu Street

More than 300 ceramic artifacts from Vietnam, China, Japan, Thailand, India, and the Middle East make up the collection at Hoi An’s Museum of Trade Ceramics. Take a closer look at the items on display here and you’ll notice Chinese and Japanese influences on local ceramics, and how the patterns and techniques changed over time.

One exhibit features 15th-century bowls, plates, and vases made in Northern Vietnamese ceramic studios that were retrieved from a shipwreck near the Cham Islands. The museum is housed inside a traditional two-storey shophouse with the front and the rear area separated by a beautiful sunlit courtyard.

TIP: The modern Terracotta Park at Thanh Ha Pottery Village pays homage to Vietnam’s long pottery traditions, with displays from noted villages around the country as well as Hoi An.

Museum of Traditional Medicine

46 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street

During Hoi An’s days as an international trading port, the town was also known for traditional medicine and medical practices. Whole streets were once filled with fragrances from medicinal herbs, and rare, healing substances from all over Vietnam could be found in Hoi An’s apothecaries.

Step inside this unique museum and be transported back in time to an old medicine store in Hoi An, complete with a floor-to-ceiling herbal cabinet, waiting area, and diagnosis area separated by an ornate wooden screen. The museum displays pottery stoves, decoction pots, and other tools once used by doctors, as well as processes for drying and storing medicinal herbs.

Museum of Folk Culture

33 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street

The Museum of Folk Culture is the perfect place to get a background in the culture of Quang Nam, especially if you plan to visit any of the craft villages near Hoi An. The museum hosts exhibits on traditional crafts such as lantern making, carpentry, sericulture, and embroidery.

Art enthusiasts will love the displays upstairs, which explain aspects of local folk theater, costumes, and festivals. The museum is one of the most informative in Hoi An, with impressive life-size models of boats, weaving looms, and other tools. The building is the largest wooden two-storey house in the Ancient Town, stretching from Nguyen Thai Hoc to the Bach Dang riverfront.

Read more: Amazing assembly halls of the Hoi An Ancient Town

Precious Heritage Museum

26 Phan Boi Chau Street

Precious Heritage is an art gallery and museum founded by Réhahn, a French photographer who fell in love with Hoi An. This free museum features a collection of authentic ethnic costumes sourced from more than 50 ethnic minorities from all over Vietnam. Each costume is displayed with a portrait of a member of the ethnic group, and information about the group’s culture. Take your time to admire the diversity and meticulous craftsmanship of these garments, learn about indigo-dye crafts, and visit the fine art photo gallery in front, showcasing Réhahn’s award-winning images of Vietnamese and ethnic people.

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