Belgian and Vietnamese experts on Nov. 8 discussed the importance of photographic heritage in contemporary life alongside the possibility of developing a national photo museum.

The Wallonie Bruxelles delegation, led by Pascale Delcomminette, joined the Vietnam Association of Photographic Artists (VAPA) and the Cultural Heritage Department in a seminar at the National Photo Archive and Exhibition Centre, which will be redesigned as the new museum.

A museum such as this is crucial to preserving the country's photographic heritage, Delcomminette said.

"What is needed is a space for displaying, collecting and researching photos," she said.

She suggested that the museum be built as a destination for tourists who wish to experience the country's rich history and culture via images.

"Not only do these pictures form part of Vietnam 's heritage, but also that of mankind," she added.

Vu Quoc Khanh, president of the VAPA agreed, "The establishment of a national photo museum will help protect our heritage."

"Local photography has developed over a period of 150 years," he said. "Art, historical, press and private family photos have become part of the national legacy."

The museum will showcase not only history, but also the earliest cameras to the most modern alongside processing equipment used during the wars. It will also provide photographers a space to gather and share their passion as well as a platform for producing pictorials.

Attending the seminar, Xavier Canonne, director of the Charleroi Photo Museum in Belgium , said, "I realised that the part of Vietnam 's photo heritage which reflects the history and society of the country was stored somewhere external."

"Overseas Vietnamese, together with the French and the Americans, have brought with them many valuable photos out of the country over the years. Authorities need to negotiate to buy back or copy such images," he added.

Canonne suggested that Vietnam strengthen its cooperation with photo museums around the world and connection with domestic partners in building up its collection.

Experts from Belgium , with two national photo museums, promised to provide Vietnam with technical support in preserving its photographic heritage. /.