Located in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City, the Museum of Vietnamese History is home to an excellent collection of rare artefacts, national treasures, ancient artworks and fascinating curios that tell the rich and varied stories of Vietnam’s past. The exhibitions are well-curated, with attention given to each of the key periods in the country’s history.
The Museum of Vietnamese History is renowned for its wide variety of exhibits and displays. Starting in prehistoric times, the museum charts Vietnam’s changing cultural influences, political events, religious history, economic development and turbulent periods of warfare all the way through to the Nguyen Dynasty, the last ruling family of Vietnam, which ended in the mid-20th century. Set inside a 1920s building that showcases a delightful fusion of French and Asian architecture, this small but charming museum is well worth a visit.
Of particular note are the collections from the Bronze Age, the exhibits relating to the ancient Cham and Khmer civilisations, an excellent set of Buddhist icons (including a treasured statue of the Buddha with 1,000 arms and 1,000 eyes) and a range of prized Cambodian artefacts collected at Angkor Wat. Be sure not to miss the full-sized and perfectly preserved mummified body of a local Vietnamese woman, which dates back to 1869. A series of miniature re-creations of the country’s most historic battles depict Vietnam’s long history of armed conflict.
The on-site water-puppet theatre show makes for a nice break from the more sombre exhibits and is sure to entertain kids and adults alike. Information displays are available in both Vietnamese and English, making self-guided tours easy. The museum is set inside the grounds of the city’s botanic gardens, so when you’ve had your fill of history and culture, step outside and enjoy the landscaped green spaces and manicured flowerbeds.
The museum is open to the public from Tuesdays to Sundays from 8am until 11:30am and again from 1:30pm until 5pm. It’s closed on Mondays. A nominal entry fee of approximately AU$1 per adult applies.