Hanoi's history of over 1000 years is complex, but many visitors ignore it altogether. Yet that is a shame, for the story that unfolds in this well laid-out museum is one of epic proportions. The building in which it is housed is a striking blend of European and Oriental design that originally functioned as L'Ecole Francaise d'Extreme Orient, and the rooms that recount the various stages of the city's history are well marked. The ground floor includes funerary jars, Dong Son drums, and excavations of Han tombs, and leads up to 1400. Upstairs the story continues with artifacts from the Ly and Tran dynasties, as well as ceramics from the Nguyen dynasty.