Locating the center of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam History Museum portrays Vietnam’s history from ancient times (approximately 300,000 years ago) up to the 1930s, when Vietnam’s Communist Party was founded. Through the different exhibits, visitors will have an opportunity to experience the nostalgic and ancient feeling of the proud, longlive history of Vietnamese.
- Location: No. 2 Nguyen Binh Khiem Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Opening hours: 8–11:30AM, 1:30–5PM
Entrance fee: 30.000VND/per person
1. History of Vietnam History Museum
The History Museum in Ho Chi Minh City was built in 1929 and was called “Musee Blanchard de la Bosse” back then. Until 1956, it was renamed Saigon National Museum, and finally in 1975, after some renovations, the museum was expanded and became the Vietnamese History Museum.
2. Structure of Vietnam History Museum
Collections are displayed in two sections. One exhibits Vietnamese history beginning with the Stone Age and proceeding up through the French colonial period as you amble clockwise through the building. This section is divided according to the following periods:
- Rise of the Hung Kings
- Fight for Independence (1st-10th centuries)
- Ly Dynasty (11th-13th centuries)
- Tran Dynasty (13th-14th centuries)
- Le Dynasty (15th-18th centuries)
- Tay Son Dynasty (18th-19th centuries)
- Nguyen Dynasty (19th-middle of the 20th centuries
The other part of the museum displays specific characteristics of the southern area of Vietnam such as the Oc-Eo culture, the ancient culture of the Mekong Delta, Cham art, the Ben Nghe Saigon art, the Vietnamese ethnic minorities, and ancient pottery of various Asian countries.
Housed in a rambling new concrete, pagoda like structure, the museum presents a clear picture of Vietnamese history, with a focus on the south. There is an excellent selection of Cham sculpture and the best collection of ancient ceramics in Vietnam. Weaponry from the 14th century onward is on display; one yard is nothing but cannons. One wing is dedicated to ethnic minorities of the south, including photographs, costumes, and household implements. Nguyen Dynasty (1700-1945) clothing and housewares are also on display.
There are archaeological artifacts from prehistoric Saigon. Its 19th- and early-20th-century histories are shown using photos and, curiously, a female corpse unearthed as construction teams broke ground for a recent housing project. There are even some general background explanations in English – something missing from most Vietnamese museums.
3. Extra Tips
- The museum is located in District 1 in the center of the city, so you can easily go there by taxi or by bus.
- There are special displays in some days, so you should check the schedule of the museum before visiting.
- The museum does not exhibit things related to the Vietnam – US War but only older stuff from previous periods, so if you have heard enough about the famous war, you can visit this museum for a refreshing feeling. Vietnam’s history is no short of drama, and the museum would be a very good place for you to start learning and understading our culture
- The museum is rarely crowded, so you can be flexible in choosing the visiting time
- Photos are allowed but you must purchase a 30,000VND camera ticket in conjunction with your admission ticket.