The location of the museum is close to two other popular attractions, Nguyen Hue Walking Street and Ho Chi Minh City Hall. The locals often call and know Ho Chi Minh Museum by the name “Nha Rong Wharf” because the area used to be a busy wharf when the French army took over Saigon in the 1860s. This building is also one of the ancient French structures in the city, and a historical attraction that many tourists come to see and visit frequently. It is now the Ho Chi Minh Museum where a lot of historical pictures and books used by Ho Chi Minh when he lived and worked in other countries are stored.
Address of the Ho Chi Minh Museum
1 Nguyen Tat Thanh Street, Ward 12, District 4, Ho Chi Minh City
Opening Hours of the Ho Chi Minh Museum
Tuesday – Sunday
Morning: 7:30 AM – 11:30 AM
Afternoon: 1:30 PM – 5 PM
Free entrance fee
A Brief History of the Ho Chi Minh Museum
Nha Rong Wharf was a bustling commercial port, built by the French transport company Messageries Maritimes in 1862. It is a huge red-brick mansion with two floors inside and a workplace for the manager at the port. At the end of 1899, the current government allowed the company to construct a port for commercial ships to park.
With many unique details, the building is a mixture of European and East Asian architecture. On the roof, there are statutes of two dragons looking at the moon, like those on the roofs of Vietnamese pagodas, and in Vietnamese “rong” means “dragon”, “nha” means “building”. Therefore, the port has been called “Nha Rong Wharf” ever since.
The dragon details on top of the museum’s roof
In 1955, after the French army was defeated and withdrew from Vietnam, the port was handed over to the government of the South of Vietnam, and the statues of dragons looking at the moon were replaced with two new ones. Since 1965, Nha Rong Wharf was used as a military base of the US army where the soldiers transported weapons by battleships.
Amiral Latouche-Tréville Ship
Finally in 1975, after the war, the Northern Vietnam government got to be in charge of the port and changed its name to the Ho Chi Minh Museum. It was the event on June 5th, 1911 that explained this name. On that day, at the Nha Rong Wharf, a 21-year-old man named Nguyen Tat Thanh left Vietnam and started his revolutionary journey. Leaving his job as a teacher in Phan Thiet, he came to Saigon and applied to work as a kitchen helper on the commercial ship Amiral Latouche-Tréville. And from there, he devoted his life to leading many revolutions to liberate Vietnam from the French and became the greatest president of the country and later became known as Ho Chi Minh or Uncle Ho. On September 2nd, 1979, in memory of Ho Chi Minh’s death, the museum at Nha Rong Wharf was officially opened and welcomed many guests to visit and learn about President Ho Chi Minh’s life and works.
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Structure of the Ho Chi Minh Museum in Ho Chi Minh City
According to historical documents, Nha Rong Wharf was constructed on March 4th, 1863 for the manager of the transporting company to live and sell tickets. Originally, besides the two dragon statues, the roof of the house was sculptured with the badge of the company which had pictures of a horse’s head and an anchor.
Ho Chi Minh Museum building on the outside
Because it was a busy port under the French and Southern Vietnamese government, the building had gone through several renovations from the 18th century into the 19th century to be largened and strengthened with steel and cement. The structure of the building from the 19th century has been conserved and protected until now.
Inside of Ho Chi Minh Museum in Ho Chi Minh City
There are nine exhibited areas and six of which display historical documents and objects relating to President Ho Chi Minh’s life. The others show the news, political missions, and information on the historical stages of Vietnam.
The first floor
You can see the altar of President Ho Chi Minh put in a room on the left of the mansion, and the other room on the right displays the topic “Ho Chi Minh – The Itinerary of Age” with many images about president Ho Chi Minh. Going further inside, you can visit the topic “Uncle Ho for South Vietnam and South Vietnam for Uncle Ho”.
Ho Chi Minh – The Itinerary of age
The altar of Ho Chi Minh
Uncle Ho for South Vietnam – South Vietnam for Uncle Ho
The second floor
On this floor, there is an optional guide to take you to see four exhibiting rooms and present the stories of Ho Chi Minh. Every room has its own theme of different historical stages that you can easily understand where the president was born, how he worked when he lived in other countries, and more information. Moreover, you can see some clothes, tools, and documents that were used in the war periods in Vietnam, all have been stored and protected for more than 60 years.
Ho Chi Minh’s journey around the world
The first theme is about the time from 1890 to 1920, from when Ho Chi Minh was born until he pursued revolutionary activities, Marxism – Leninism, and the Vietnamese Revolution Party.
Ho Chi Minh, his family, and his hometown
This room exhibits the childhood of the president, where his hometown was, who his relatives were, and how he read and accepted Marxism – Leninism to affirm the Vietnamese Revolution Party.
Ho Chi Minh’s devotion to the national revolution
The second theme includes exhibits reflecting how President Ho Chi Minh fought to protect and apply Leninism on nationalism and colonialism in a creative way, creating the main Party of Vietnamese workers class (1920 – 1930).
A typewriter that Ho Chi Minh had used
These exhibitions display how the president worked and lived in other countries and secretly led Vietnamese people to fight the French government taking over the country. Besides, some clothes and working implements of the President are also shown to visitors.
Published articles written by Ho Chi Minh
The third theme is about Ho Chi Minh’s success in the August Revolution and the resistance against French colonial invaders as a leader and founder of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (1930 – 1954).
Ho Chi Minh’s outfit
The exhibitions in this theme illustrate the smart leading of Ho Chi Minh that resulted in the successful revolutions in 1945 and 1954 which made the French government sign the Geneva agreement to end the colonial regime in Vietnam. They also display a historical background of when the Democratic Republic of Vietnam was founded.
Ho Chi Minh’s funeral
The fourth theme continues from 1954, when President Ho Chi Minh led the socialist revolutions in Northen Vietnam against the US and Southern Vietnam Army to unify the country, until his death in 1969.
Articles about Ho Chi Minh
The final theme focuses on the historical stage that the French Army withdrew from Vietnam and the US Army started the intervention to control the Southern Vietnam government. Meanwhile, Ho Chi Minh led the people to build a new government in the north and prepared strategies to fight against the new invader.
The view of the Saigon River from the second floor of the Ho Chi Minh Museum
Outside of Ho Chi Minh Museum in Ho Chi Minh City
To remember Ho Chi Minh for his devotion to national affairs, people molded a statue of him when he was young and still then known as Nguyen Tat Thanh and put it in the garden of Ho Chi Minh Museum.
Surrounding the building are roughly four hundred kinds of trees, some of which are more than two hundred years old and of high value. There is a fig tree that was planted by the President of India when he was on a trip to Vietnam in 1991. Some trees were sent from Thailand as special gifts to honor the friendly relationship between the two countries.
The garden in Ho Chi Minh Museum
An exhibition depicting the old Saigon’s life
Books about Ho Chi Minh and souvernirs
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Summary of the Ho Chi Minh Museum in Ho Chi Minh City
Having been opened for more than 30 years, the Ho Chi Minh Museum in Ho Chi Minh City has been one of the educative historical revolution centers, where a part of the life and idea of President Ho Chi Minh were reflected and told via pictures and documents. Ho Chi Minh Museum has attracted about 30 million visitors, especially foreign tourists and hundreds of leaders of states from other countries. Most of them want to visit and understand the great President Ho Chi Minh because of his important achievements in the Vietnam War.
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