Hoang Long, a private museum located in the city of Thanh Hoa, was recognised as the country’s first private antiques museum by the Vietnam Guinness Records on August 23.

The museum, set up in 2006, has more than 11,000 glass, silver, bronze and ceramic antiques, most of them Vietnamese.

It is famous for its collection of bronze artefacts like drums belonging to the Dong Son Culture, a prehistoric Bronze Age civilisation that developed along the Red River in the north.

Hoang Long also has many ceramics dating back to the brilliant Ly, Tran, and Le eras.

It has on display a large bronze drum designated in the traditional northern Ngoc Lu style, the most valuable among four types of Dong Son drums, by veteran artisan Le Van Bay and his staff, who live in the handicraft village of Tra Dong in the province’s Thieu Hoa district.

It weights 739kg, has a surface diameter of 1.51 m and a height of 1.21 m, and has been recognised as the country’s largest Ngoc Lu style bronze drum.

Thanh Hoa cultural and tourism authorities collaborated with Vietbooks Corporation to research and list the record.

Vietbooks maintains national records in a tie-up with the UK-based Guinness Book of World Records in all spheres.

The Ministry of Culture and Information (now the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism) amended regulations in 2004 to allow the setting up of private museums.

Like many of their peers, Hoang Van Thong and Nguyen Thi Mai, owners of Hoang Long, had been collectors for long before opening the museum to the public in 2006.

However, a tough road awaits individuals who dream of opening private museums.

“We face many problems,” Thong said at a ceremony held to confer the Vietnam Guinness Record on the museum.

“One of the difficulties is that an antiques museum requires modern facilities and professional staff.”

Thong said they would invest 6 billion VND (337,000 USD) to improve the museum’s maintenance.

Private collectors have provided public museums like the HCM City History Museum and the HCM City Museum hundreds of antique objects./.