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The War Remnants Museum
By Thea Easterby
28 November 2011





The War Remnants Museum at 28 Vo Van Tan is a reminder that there are two sides in every war. In this case, the Vietnam War. This museum is a humbling reminder that each side of any war has to cope with massive loses. Each and every person killed in a conflict has someone that cares for them, someone who mourns their tragic loss.

On the ground floor, when you walk into the museum you are met with photos of protests held around the world against the Vietnam War. I was quite amazed by this section as I had no idea so many countries openly protested. There are photos of young men burning their draft cards refusing to go to war as well as the story of Michael Heck, a B52 pilot who during the Operation Linebaker 2 campaign, refused to continue flying bombing missions. Stories such as these fill the ground floor area.

While I believe that adults should visit this museum, I personally would not take a young child. Some of the photos throughout the museum are extremely graphic and disturbing.

The museum is broken down into various themes. All pictures and artefacts have a description written in English and Vietnamese.

The Aggressive War Crimes section highlights some of the atrocities that took place, one example being the My Lai Massacre in 1968.

The Agent Orange section and pictures are particularly harrowing. I doubt you will walk out of this exhibition unaffected in some way. This section focuses on the massive amounts of napalm and dioxin used in Vietnam during the war. More importantly, it highlights the affects these dangerous chemicals had on the Vietnamese people and the soldiers on all sides of the conflict for generations to come.

Another theme is the Requiem collection highlighting photos taken by photographers who died during the war. Some of these chilling photos were literally taken in the last moments of the photographer’s life.

Once you walk out of the museum, turn right for the tiger cages and imprisonment display. In this section, there is information about the way prisoners were treated at the notorious Phu Quoc prison. The prison was originally set up by the French, and then later ran by the South Vietnamese. To be honest, I didn’t spend much time in this area. Frankly, I wasn’t up for seeing more of the cruel things humans can do to each other.

Outside in the courtyard, there is a collection of machinery including the Chinook helicopter which was used extensively to move people and just about everything else from place to place. I hadn’t realised, until standing next to one, just how large these helicopters are. They also have tanks, planes and a collection of bombs.  It is hard to comprehend that more bombs were dropped during the Vietnam War than in the whole of World War II.

The museum closes from 12am to 1.30 pm each day.


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Comments
mr ken coatz
yes i have been there too .people think of the cruelty of the vietnamese but forget it wsas there country they were defending,also read about the war that never was Laos was bombed night and day for months for nothing more bombs where dropped on than all the wars put together.
julian
I've visited the museum a few times over the years. The first time, in 1997 I was accompanied by a Vietnamese friend who was unable to escape in 1975 and spent seven years as a 'guest' of the government undergoing 're-education'. It was very interesting... and sobering, to hear his side of the story and observations about the very one sided version of events portrayed in the museum. The propaganda has been watered down somewhat since then... but reading the captions to some of the photographs... and then finding the same photos on the net with with the original captions as written by those who were witness to the events shows that even today, everything is not quite as it seems and the victors write their own truths.

It's a must visit place, incredibly sad but don't be a victim to the propaganda, it's not as one sided as it's portrayed.
Ron Sievers
As a former australian soldier who served in vietnam I agree, nothing is as simple as it is presented, and the winners write the history, I have been to the museum, I enjoyed it, but I also recall seeing in the field the deeds preformed by the other side but not recorded in the museum, in war it is all grey, never black and white.
Ron Sievers
as a former Australian infantry soldier. I agree the winners write the history. I have visited the museum and enjoyed it, but I also saw in the field unspeakable acts committed by the winners that are never mentioned in the museum.War is not black and white, it's very grey, if not then only black, look at the photos, but remember they were taken by western photographers free to do so, where are the records from the other side. Keep an open mind
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