I first visited the War Remnants Museum in the late 1990’s. During this time, Vietnam was not a country where tourists were visiting., as it is now on this present day. Ho Chi Minh City has drastically changed over the decades of Kiwi In Saigon (Scott) visiting. Just like the city has changed, so did the Museum. Operated by the Vietnamese government, an earlier version of this museum opened on September 4, 1975, as the Exhibition House for US and Puppet Crimes. It was then name changed again in 1990 to be called
the Exhibition House for Crimes of War and Aggression. It was called this when I first visited, and you could feel through the tragic presentations the Anti-American sentiment that still ran very deep within the Vietnamese Government.
In 1995, following the normalization of diplomatic relations with the United States and end of the US embargo a year before, the references to “war crimes” and “aggression” were dropped from the museum’s title as well; once again after the American and Vietnamese relationship recovered.
It became as we know now as the War Remnants Museum.
Before diplomatic relations with America and Vietnam were restored. Visiting the then museum was what you could call a very traumatic visit. Compared to the present day, its now very tame. The shocking displays in which used to be shown have long since been removed and replaced with more Politically correct displays, but still holding the dramatic story of why wars are pointless and horrible. And what Vietnam had to suffer.
No matter how many times I visit here, it still amazes me how humanity can be so unkind to one another. And thats basically how I became to be on this earth and adopted out of Saigon during Operation Baby-lift. Check out my story on my other blogs.
The museum comprises a series of themed rooms in several buildings, with period military equipment placed within a walled yard. The military equipment includes a UH-1 “Huey”helicopter, an F-5A fighter, a BLU-82 “Daisy Cutter” bomb, M48 Patton tank, an A-1 Skyraider attack bomber, and an A-37 Dragonfly attack bomber. There are a number of pieces of unexploded ordnance stored in the corner of the yard, with their charges and/or fuses removed.
One building reproduces the “tiger cages” in which the South Vietnamese government kept political prisoners. Other exhibits include graphic photography, accompanied by a short text in English, Vietnamese and Japanese, covering the effects of Agent Orange and other chemical defoliant sprays, the use of napalm and phosphorus bombs, and war atrocities such as the My Lai massacre. The photographic display includes work by Vietnam War photojournalist Bunyo Ishikawa that he donated to the museum in 1998.
Curiosities include a guillotine used by the French and South Vietnamese to execute prisoners, the last time being in 1960, and three jars of preserved human fetuses allegedly deformed by exposure to dioxins and dioxin-like compounds, contained in the defoliant Agent Orange.
Even when I walk around Saigon (I like to call it this then the name of Ho Chi Minh City) there are reminders of Agent orange effect in many locals. I often think maybe that how I got my past brain tumor, but thats another story.
The War Remnants Museum is currently one of the most popular museums in Vietnam, attracting approximately half a million visitors every year. According to the museum’s own estimates, about two-thirds of these are foreigners.
We must all learn from the past mistakes. But unfortunately humanity does not and wars and atrocious crimes against humanity continues to happen to this present day
I hope you visit the War Remnants Museum – Kiwi In Saigon
PRICE LIST PRICE (Apply from 01/01/2018)
TICKET PRICE: 40,000 Dong / person
All days of the week (including holidays, Tet) Opening hours: 7:30 to 18:00
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