War Remnants Museum

Visiting the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Grounds of War Remnants Museum, Vietnam
Mike Aquino, licensed to About.com

Opened in September 1975 shortly after the end of the Vietnam War, the War Remnants Museum is a popular attraction in Ho Chi Minh City - a significant stop for travelers looking to hear the Vietnamese response to the war in their country.

The atmosphere inside of the newly-renovated museum is hushed and somber: graphic displays, photographs, unexploded ordinance, and other artifacts show the horrors faced by both sides. The airy, three-floor museum houses around seven permanent exhibits with captions in both Vietnamese and English. American tanks, bombs, and aircraft are on display outside of the War Remnants Museum as well as a mock-up of a POW prison.

The War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City

Some exhibits inside of the War Remnants Museum are temporarily closed as renovation continues.

Current exhibits include:

  • Historical Truths: A room containing photographs, propaganda, news clippings, and signboards geared toward showing the wrongdoings of the U.S. government in the 1960s and 1970s.
  • Requiem: A powerful collection of photographs taken by 134 international journalists who were killed during the Vietnam War. The exhibit was donated by the state of Kentucky.
  • Vestiges of War Crimes: Another room heavily dosed with propaganda showing the mistreatment of civilians during the war.
  • International Support for the Vietnamese People: A room containing posters and offerings from various world governments which were opposed to the U.S. entering the Vietnam War.
  • Children's Painting Collection: A collection of artwork by young children around the world showing their ideas about war and peace.
  • U.S. State-of-the-Art Weaponry: An exhibit of photographs, factoids, and signboards showing the technological advantage and firepower that the Americans utilized during the Vietnam War.

Outside the War Remnants Museum

Along with the inside displays, many restored pieces of American military hardware are parked around the grounds of the War Remnants Museum. Helicopters - including a mammoth Chinook - tanks, artillery, fighter planes, and an assortment of large bombs complete the interesting display.

Imprisonment Display

As you exit the museum, don't miss the mock POW prison on the museum grounds. Signboards and graphic photographs portray various ways that prisoners were mistreated - primarily before the U.S, became involved in Vietnam. Tiger cages - tiny enclosures used to torture prisoners - are on display as well as an actual guillotine used for executions until 1960.

Propaganda Purposes

The War Remnants Museum was known as the Museum of American War Crimes until 1993; the original name is perhaps more fitting. Many exhibits in the museum contain a heavy dose of anti-American propaganda.

Even simple displays of U.S. weapons used during the Vietnam War are displayed against backdrops of displaced villagers and civilian victims. Exhibits not openly portraying anti-American sentiment tend to showcase the overwhelming U.S. firepower used against the Vietnamese during their "Resistance War".

Although the exhibits are blatantly one-sided and need to be taken with a grain of salt, they do graphically portray the horrors of war. The War Remnants Museum is worth a visit no matter your opinion on U.S. involvement in Vietnam.

Visiting the War Remnants Museum Museum with Children

Some of the graphic displays in the War Remnants Museum may be disturbing to young children. Three human fetuses deformed by Agent Orange are on display in jars on the ground floor of the museum. Many photographs show human remains, corpses, wounded and maimed villagers, and napalm victims.

Getting to the Museum

The War Remnants Museum is located in Ho Chi Minh City - formerly known as Saigon - in District 3 at the corner of Vo Van Tan and Le Quoy Don, just northwest of the Reunification Palace. A taxi from the tourist district near Pham Ngu Lao should cost under $2.

Visiting Information

Open Hours: 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily; the ticketing window closes from 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. The last admission to the museum is at 4:30 p.m.
Entrance Cost: VND 15,000, or about 70 cents (read about money in Vietnam)
Location: 28 Vo Tan Tan, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City
Contact: +84 39302112 or warrmhcm@gmail.com
When to Visit: The War Remnants Museum gets busy in late afternoon as tours to the Cu Chi Tunnels finish there. Avoid the crowds by going earlier in the day.