In Ho Chi Minh City (also known as Saigon), besides cultural and sightseeing spots, there are many tourists would like to learn more about Vietnamese history, Vietnam War, the country and people in the past. One of the must-see attractions in Saigon is the War Remnants Museum – a bass note in the heart of the vibrant city. War Remnants Museum is the only museum in Vietnam listed as one of Peace museums by UNESCO. The museum displays remnants in the resistance wars of Vietnamese people against the French colonial and America during 21 years, from 1954 to 1975 and many other artifacts. Every year, more than 500,000 visitors come to the museum. It has welcomed over 20 millions of visitors for nearly 45 years. The War Remnants Museum has just been ranked as one of the world’s Top 10 museums in 2018 by TripAdvisor – the most popular rating and review website in the world. It should be the first museum to be visited among 12 museums in Ho Chi Minh City.
Opening hours: 7:30 – 18:00, daily (including Tet and other holidays)
Address: 28 Vo Van Tan Street, Ward 6, District 3, HCMC.
Entrance fee: 40,000 VND/adult; 20,000 VND/child aged 6-15; free for child under 6 years old
Phone: (+84) 08 2203 0682 – (+84) 28 3930 6664
The museum was founded on September 4, 1975, with the name “American-puppet Crime Gallery”. On November 10, 1990, it was changed the name into “Demonstrator of aggressive war crimes”. By July 4, 1995 (a week before US President Bill Clinton announced the normalization of diplomatic relations with Vietnam), the museum was renamed “War Remnants Museum” as it is today. In 2002, the museum was rebuilt and designed to have a cubic shape for the appropriate museum exhibition and experience. On April 30, 2010, the new building was completed.
Ticket and turnstile
Campus, building, architecture of the museum
The total area of War Remnants Museum is about 7,300 m2, including the spacious 3,026 m2 yard and 4,522 m2 building. The building is in cubic shape, with a large space for exhibiting artifacts, pictures and documents, avoiding natural light that can damage them. The facade of the building is in grey and white color, with the white dove and 3 bombs logo expressing Peace and War.
Display Areas of War Remnants Museum
War Remnants Museum is a thematic museum that studies, collects, stores, preserves, and displays documents, pictures, artifacts about war and the consequences of the wars with the French colonial, the USA, China, Khmer Rouge in Vietnam. Display areas of War Remnants Museum consist of an outdoor display area and indoor display area.
Outdoor display area
Outdoor display area displays all kinds of military transportation, weapons of the U.S. such as jet, reconnaissance aircraft, helicopters, tanks, large guns, high-altitude guns, mortars and artillery shells, bombs, model of “tiger cages” in prisons for Vietnam soldiers.
Military transportation and weapons
There are nearly 20 military transportation and weapons displayed in the yard, including:
- CH-47 Chinook is a versatile twin-engine, tandem rotor heavy-lift helicopter, designed by Boeing. Its primary roles include troop movement, artillery emplacement and battlefield resupply.
- M.48 A3 Tank – Main battle tank with a weight of 47.2 tons and a maximum speed of 48 km/h. U.S Army had some 370 M48 tanks in Vietnam by July 1969.
- M107 – 175mm Gun is called “King of Battlefield”, self-propelled artillery piece. It has a weight of 18,193,4 kg, maximum range of 32.7 km and a sustained rate of fire of 1r/2 min. This weapon has caused numberless destruction in Vietnam. The U.S. Army had some 152 of these by 1969.
- D.7 E Bulldozer weigh 40 tons and was used in construction or large-scale ground clearance projects, razing forests, orchards, cemeteries to the ground, transforming large areas into “no man’s land”. U.S. Army had 1,417 bulldozers in Vietnam by July 1969.
- M.41 Tank with a weight of 23 tons was used in Vietnam from 1965.
- M.132 A1 Flame Thrower is an amphibious light tank, capable of crossing rice-fields, waterways and uneven grounds. It is able to be parachuted from an aircraft. It has M.108 flame gun with 200 gallons of fuel and M.73 machinegun caliber 7.62mm.
- 105mm Howitzer with a weight of 1,934 kg, maximum range of 11.5 km and sustained rate of fire 3r/min.
- 155mm Howitzer with a weight of 1,934 kg, maximum range of 11.5 km and sustained rate of fire 3r/min.
Different types of bombs
Bomb area used by U.S. in Vietnam War impress visitors. The displaying bombs include BLU-82B (Bomb Live Unit-82), 3,000 lb. bombs, 2,000 lb. bombs, 750 lb. bombs, fin of an 750 lb. bomb, Six-barreled M61 Vulcan (20-mm rounds), AGN-12B guided missile, SUU-13/A cluster dispenser, CBU-30/A cluster bomb. BLU – 82 Seismic bomb is 3.35 m long, 1.37 m in diameter and 5,700 kg weigh. It can destroy an area within a 100 metre radius and caused serious damage within a diameter of 3.2 km. It is used in Vietnam from 1970.
In addition, there are two models of detenting prisoners called “tiger cages”. They have the size of the real “tiger cages” in Con Dao. In the “tiger cages”, there is a true guillotine that has exited since Ngo Dinh Diem Time (1955-1963). All make a strong impression on visitors.
Indoor display area
The indoor display area has more than 15,000 artifacts, pictures and thousands of meters of documentary films about the two periods of resistance against French and the US, the war on the protection of the northern border and the Southwestern border war. Pictures, documents in the war such as civilian massacres, spraying toxic chemicals in the South, bombing in the North, pictures, and torture tools really cause emotion to viewers.
There are 2 souvenir shops next to the main entrance on the ground floor at War Remnants Museum.
Information about the museum
In the middle of the ground floor hall, visitors can find the “Path through the War Remnants Museum” boards and brochures giving them the necessary information about the museum.
Room 11 – Waging peace – U.S. soldiers and veterans who opposed America’s War in Vietnam
The U.S. movement against the American war in Vietnam was the largest peace movement in history of U.S.A. Millions of American demonstrated and engaged in political action over 10 years in order to force the government to end the war. Millions of young men refused military conscription to avoid serving in this war. Active duty soldiers and veterans had led major antiwar demonstrations since 1968. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers signed petitiions against the war. Soldier and veterans published their own newspapers to counter the U.S. Government’s pro-war propaganda.
Some impressed artifacts include:
- The papers published by GIs for Peace at Fort Gordon, Augusta, Georgia said “The army builds MEN” and drew an injured soldier. RAP! Newspapers published by antiwar soldiers stationed at Fort Benning, Goergia and their civilian supporters says: “For those who would today ask “why” but cannot”.
- There is the photo of Terry Irvin who wrote articles for Lewis-McChord Free Press underground papers at Fort Lewis. He was arrested by Military Police in 1971 because he distributed copies of the Declaration of Independence.
- The documents include the Ally underground paper published by service personnel and supporters in Berkeley, California. There is the letter written to the staff of The Ally by GIs stationed in Vietnam. “We would like as many copies over a hundred as possible. They will be distributed between two companies (of soldiers) here in Chu Lai, South Vietnam”. A letter written by a soldier and sent to the Ally from Vietnam said “Can you believe that. We had a parade in Vietnam and got busted for disturbing the peace. What can I say – FTA”.
Room 10 – The world supports Vietnam in its resistance to U.S. aggression 1954 – 1975
Exiting Room 11 through the second entrance to Room 11 and being back to the main hall, visitors enter Room 10. In this room, artifacts, documents and photos about the world supports Vietnam in its resistance to U.S. aggression 1954 – 1975. People in Europe, Asia, Americas, Africa, Oceania and international organizations support Vietnam in the resistance to U.S. aggression and coping with the war’s aftermath.
Room 6 – Aggression War Crimes
The My Lai (Son My) massacre was one of the most horrific incidents of violence committed against unarmed civilians, caused by the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. The above photos show how the U.S. force destroyed the villages and killed villagers in My Lai :
- The photo of an American soldier throwing the flat basket used to dry rice and roots into the fire.
- The photo of the body in front of a burning house, Haeberla – the photographer said that the body kept twitching and that one GI commented: “He’s got ghosts in him”.
- The photo of a Vietnamese man before being killed, the author said was so scared that he could not move and looked being to tear.
Some utensils used by Vietnamese victims and remained after Son My massacre in 1968:
- The grazed terra-cotta jar of rice of Mrs. Nguyen Thi Chac’s family;
- Bamboo basket containing fishes of Mr. Han Dich, copper tray of Mr. Truong Dan’s family;
- Aluminum tray of Mr. Vo Ton’s family;
- Round-bellied pot of fish sauce of Mr. Han Dich’s family, buckets containing fish sauce of Mrs. Nguyen Thi Ty’s family.
This is Mr. Bui Van Vat’s sewer used in 1969. At night of 25th February 1969, a group of Seal Rangers led by Lieutenant Bob Kerry reached for Hamlet 5, Thanh Phong Village, Thanh Phu District, Ben Tre Province. 3 grandchildren of Bui Van Vat hidden in this sewer but the U.S. rangers caught and stabed 2 children including the 10-year girl and the 8-year girl, disembowelled the 6-year boy. Bui Van Vat’s daughter donated War Remnants Museum the sewer for showing exhibition.
Room 7 – Agent orange aftermath in the U.S. aggressive war in Vietnam
The 7th room displays artifacts, photos, documents, models about Agent orange aftermath in the U.S. aggressive war in Vietnam.
Room 8 – Agent orange consequences through children’s paintings
8th room is named Agent orange consequences through children’s paintings. In this room are displayed collections of paintings about the following themes:
- Emotions for the war consequences
- Ideas from the books they are interested in
- Distinctive traits of their hometown’s landscapes
- Environment – Family – School
- The beauty of their city
The exhibition aims at introducing to the public the thoughts of Vietnamese children in recent about the consequences of Agent orange, their aptitude for fine arts and to ask for helping people of Agent orange to overcome challenges in their life.
There is also a small area for souvenirs in the room.
Room 1 – Historic truths
1st room on the 2nd floor is about “Historic truths”.
Room 2 – Requiem – the photo collection of the U.S. aggressive war in Vietnam
This is also a gallery that attracts a lot of visitors, especially international visitors. The collection in this room is made by two press photographers – Tim Page and Horst Faas – who were injured in Vietnam’s battlefield. They have collected thousands of photographs of the Indochina War taken by 133 photographers of different nationalities for 4 years.
The “Requiem” collection have been displayed in many exhibitions all over the world. In November 1999, the colleciton was presented to Vietnam by Kentucky people in the spirit of Hope, Healing and History.
Rooms 3 – 50 years Vietnam – War and Peace and Room 4 – Agent orange in Vietnam War
The 3rd room named 50 years Vietnam – War and Peace houses the collection of documentary photos by Japanese correspondent Ishikawa Bunyo. The 4th room named Agent orange in Vietnam War houses the collection of documentary photos by Japanese photographer Goro Nakamura.
What do visitors think when visiting the museum?
The percentage of foreign visitors to the Museum is up to 70%. They have come here to learn about the wars in Vietnam, to understand more about the irreparable losses of the Vietnamese people. The general feeling of visitors is emotion and sympathy. Dozens of feeling books of visitors are also very precious and meaningful artifacts at the Museum. Among the thousands of emotion lines saved at the museum, a guest from Switzerland wrote: “I come from a beautiful country that never knew about war, have an opinion: All politicians and the leaders who are planning to the war and the people who involved in the war should visit the Museum. Hope they should reconsider! Peace, peace, peace.”
The War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City is the only museum in Vietnam to be included in the system of more than 60 Museums for Peace of the Organization for Cultural Science and Education of the United Nations. The War Remnants Museum is the place to call for world peace. The War Remnants Museum is one of the addresses of highly attractive tourist culture, gaining the trust of the domestical and international public.
Read more about Top 12 museums in Ho Chi Minh City
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