Ho Chi Minh's museums, arts and culture are influenced by the country's military past and its rich heritage. For instance, the War Remnants Museum depicts a very shocking picture of civilian struggle during the Vietnam War, and the Ho Chi Minh Museum follows the life and influence of revolutionary figure Ho Chi Minh.
If you want to see artwork made by Vietnamese artists, visit the Fine Arts Museum and the San Art gallery. For something completely different, duck into the Museum of Traditional Vietnamese Medicine for a fascinating insight into this aspect of the local culture.
Vietnam's struggle for independence and unification has not been without bloodshed. The War Remnants Museum is a sobering reminder of the country's wars with the French and the Americans. There are weapons, photographs, dioramas, and other artefacts such as a guillotine. The museum has been running since 1975 and is one of the most visited museums in the country.
Ho Chi Minh was a Vietnamese Communist revolutionary leader who played a key role in the country's history. Because of this, they renamed the city (previously Saigon) after him in 1975. You can find out more about him by visiting the Ho Chi Minh Museum; it's located inside Dragon Wharf, the former customs house that combines French and Vietnamese styles.
To see great examples of Vietnamese arts and culture, visit the Fine Arts Museum. It's housed in a French Colonial mansion that once belonged to the richest man in Saigon. The museum's collection includes oil, silk, and lacquer paintings as well as ceramics and sculptures. Relics from the 7th to 17th centuries are also exhibited in this museum.
Apart from its struggles for independence, Vietnam has a rich history that can be traced back to the prehistoric period. You can learn more about this by going to the Museum of Vietnamese History; find it inside the grounds of the Botanic Gardens. Go on a guided tour to find out more about the cultural evolution of Vietnam.
The HCMC museum is dedicated to Ho Chi Minh City, housed in an elegant, Neoclassical building built in 1885 and formerly known as the Gia Long Palace. It takes visitors on a journey of the city’s history through archaeological relics, old city maps, and ceramics. The Vietnamese revolution against the French as well as images from the Vietnam War are also displayed on the upper floor of the museum.
Did you know that Vietnam has a medical tradition that spans thousands of years? You can learn more about this in the Museum of Traditional Vietnamese Medicine, also known as the FITO Museum. It houses ingredients, scrolls, and other artefacts that practitioners used to cure illnesses and promote the wellbeing of their patients.
If you want to see contemporary Vietnamese art, the San Art gallery is for you. This not-for-profit organisation was initiated by artists to exchange knowledge and showcase their work. You can see musical pieces, poetry, and installations as well as contemporary visual art. They also have an excellent reading room with a wide selection of art books.