The Ho Chi Minh Museum found in Hanoi, Vietnam records the life of Vietnam’s father figure. The museum that features the country’s historical hero offers far more hard evidence than the dignity of telling his works by use of mere words.
The museum is a gigantic white monolith found southwest of the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and just past the One Pillar Pagoda. With over 107,000 square feet, this Soviet-style building encapsulates plenty of space for the legacy of the Vietnamese national hero. Visitors are then provided the opportunity to enjoy both the exhibit and the structure of the building. Aside from display areas, the museum also has a library, a storage, movie viewing areas, a conference room and rooms for restoration work as well.
Ho Chi Minh was a great revolutionary and statesman who became the first Prime Minster and then the President of North Vietnam. The hero’s life exhibit is spread entirely throughout the building. It is designed to take the visitor into the life of Hochiminh by use of a series of consecutively viewed displays. The best way to explore the museum is to start from the top most floors and then make your way down. Each stage of the exhibit represents a single phase in Ho Chi Minh’s development as a man and as a leader. Every chapter of his life is brought forth by an item or two that summarizes the developments of the country in accordance to Ho’s life. From his early life in poverty in Vinh to the stress he had to endure during the years he spent in Hue during his father’s tenure in the University, the museum also includes his personal effects and other materials from each period. The installation of artworks in the museum is fascinatingly rendered as a Ford Edsel protrudes shockingly from a wall as if to embody the weaknesses and excess of capitalism.
Letters, photographs, pamphlets and posters dot around each exhibit as written materials are mostly in French or Vietnamese. English speakers might have some difficulty deciphering and understanding the exhibit but some do have English translations. The personal items and photographs do the best job of showing Hochiminh as a person and icon at once, making visitors understand why he was ultimately made the country’s national hero.
Security is extremely tight upon entrance. No photography is allowed but some have bravely snapped a few pictures or so. An entrance fee of 15,000 VND is charged per person. Opening hours are from 8 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon on Tuesdays to Thursdays and the weekends. A lunch break is also enforced from 11am to 1:30pm where visitors still in the building will be asked to leave for the break.
The Ho Chi Minh Museum was built in memory of a great man whose name is written in golden letters in the history of Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh was a great father figure of the country and it is but natural that Vietnam would like to share this fact to the world. The people of Vietnam are forever indebted to him for what he did for his country and will continue to do so for generations to come.