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Gov't to pursue $500.8mln museum despite funding problems, criticisms
By Thanh Nien News -
 The rendering image of Vietnam's National History Museum, planned to be built at $500.8 million. Photo credit: VnEconomy
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has told his cabinet to focus on a VND11.2-trillion (US$500.8 million) project to build a national museum, even though it has been criticized as impractical and faced funding problems, news website VnEconomy reported Friday.
"It is necessary to build the National History Museum, and it is what the Party and the government have planned for many years," Dung was quoted as commenting on the project, approved in 2011, at a government meeting on Thursday.
He ordered the culture ministry, the construction ministry and other relevant agencies to make necessary preparations for the project, so construction will start in 2021, the website reported.
The museum is planned to cover more than 10 hectares in a new urban area near Hanoi's West Lake, and consist of sites like an outdoor gallery, a place where historic events are reproduced, and a place dedicated to famous people in Vietnam's history.
According to the initial plan, work on the project would begin in November 2012 and the museum would be opened to public in July 2016. However, agencies could not launch the project, due to failure to mobilize funds, VnEconomy reported.
It is unclear how the government has been trying to get money for the museum, which has drawn widespread criticism from the public since the project was first announced in 2012.
Many critics found its huge costs unacceptable, saying that many museums were built around the country with lots of money, but ended up being ignored by a majority of the public.
Hanoi Museum, for instance, was built at VND2.3 trillion ($103.59 million) in 2010 as one of many icon works marking the capital city's 1,000th anniversary. But, the inverted pyramid-designed building has been constantly criticized for poor displays, dubious construction quality, and the low number of visitors.