Discover War Remnants Museum - Ho Chi Minh
There are few museums that accurately depict the experiences of the Vietnamese, and the War Remnants Museum is one of them. Formerly the Museum of Chinese and American War Crimes, the War Remnants Museum remains popular with Western tourists. The displays here are publicized, but Westerners hear a completely different story back on their own shores. If you’re the kind of person who enjoys learning about both sides of history, Trip Guru recommends this eye-opening visit.
The museum is focused on featuring the negative side of war. There are courtyards full of military vehicles, including a Huey and Chinook helicopter—a helicopter taken directly from the war era. There’s also a tank and fighter jet, and a few deactivated bombs on display that give you a clear picture of the explosives that were dropped. There are also exhibits featuring a life-sized French POW camp, full of torture devices and barbed-wire tiger cages for the Viet Cong prisoners, complete with mannequin bodies for a life-sized diorama. There’s also a real guillotine used for executions up until the 1960s.
There’s the Hall of Historical Truths, full of examples of various propaganda denouncing the United States government, and you can take a look at the Vietnamese People Room, full of offerings from different countries opposing the entry of the Americans. There is also a room where photographs are posted, showing support for the anti-war movement. This gives a lighter feeling, as opposed to the terrible things used on human beings to hurt each other. There is also a special exhibit called the Requiem Exhibition that documents the work of different photographers killed while documenting the conflict on both sides.
While it is a painful picture of history, it gives the dead a chance to tell their stories of the war to people, and how badly war affects everyone. It’s an experience that must be felt to be understood. The museum is in between Vo Van Tan St. and Le Quy Don St. To get there, take bus no. 28 at Ben Thanh Bus station. It is also a short walk from the Reunification Palace. The museum is open daily from 8:00am to 11:45am, and 1:30pm and 4:45pm.