Time Required : 1 - 2 hours
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Opened in 1990 on the anniversary of Ho Chi Minh's birth, this Soviet-style museum is a mind-blowing museum depicting Vietnamese and Ho Chi Minh's history in a rather bizzare way. You can find lack and white photos, copies of speeches, letters, a huge statue of Ho Chi Minh himself, 1970-style art installations among many other exhibits.
The Ho Chi Minh Museum is hands down the one museum in Vietnam everyone must go to, conveniently located in the Ho Chi Minh complex. A majority of the funding, design and curation came from Soviet support. The same Soviet architects also designed the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum next door. The museum contains many of Ho Chi Minh's personal effects, including clothing, his sandals and glasses, basically his entire life story, from his childhood to his political awakening, his efforts to end French colonial rule and most importantly, his leading of North Vietnam during the civil war, up to his death in 1969. His story is curated mainly through photographs which are conveniently captioned in both Vietnamese, English and French for tourists.
The museum covers Ho Chi Minh's life in 8 featured exhibitions. The first one, establishes his life as a child, his upbringing, hometown and youth. The second topic talks of the next ten years where he got on a French freighter as a stoker, and travelled the world. Here is where his search to end colonialism began. The next three topics, cover 1920 to 1945, and show how the man's founding principles were established through socialist policies and how he turned those ideals into the founding principles of Vietnamese Independence. From 1945 to 1969, which was the time-frame portrayed in topic 6 and 7, the national hero is shown in the height of his political career until his death. The Ho Chi Minh Museum is dedicated to the life and legacy of the former president of North Vietnam and to Vietnam's struggle for independence. A great place to learn about Vietnam's independence movement and the history of the communist state, the museum has the most massive and comprehensive collection on Ho Chi Minh's life and legacy in the whole of Vietnam.
One can find thousands of documents, letters and historic artifacts and learn so much about the man who dedicated himself to freeing his country from French colonial rule. The museum is a collection of artifacts, miniatures and various gifts gathered nationally and internationally. There are guided tours available on request. Vietnam's museums are usually fairly literal in their narrative style. However, this one is more quirky, abstract, ambitious and international in its perspective. And it preserves a museum style that was developed in the final years of the Soviet Union.
Another important aspect of the museum is its structure which is unique since it was built as a monument as well as a museum. It is located at the birthplace of the Vietnamese communist state on Ba Dinh Square. A Soviet influence is obvious in the architecture of the building. The mausoleum next door contains the late leader's embalmed body.