The Dong Thap museum was established in 1978, initially comprising a local doctor’s house, a municipal house, and a military camp. The complex features architectural styles from the French colonial era. In 2000, a new artifact warehouse and a new exhibition hall were inaugurated. There are now 30,000 artifacts on display indoors and outdoors.
|Dong Thap Museum owns the largest number of national treasures in the Mekong Delta. (Photo: Ngoc Anh/VOV)
Tour guide Le Nhat Lien said: “The exhibition hall tells visitors about the culture, natural landscapes, and population of Dong Thap province through Vietnam’s two resistance wars against the French and the Americans. War ships, weapons, and helicopters are displayed outdoors. Statues of the god Vishnu and the Goddess Laksmi from the Oc Eo culture, which flourished between the 1st and 6th century, are showcased at the Dong Thap Museum. It also also houses a collection of gold artifacts from the Oc Eo culture, the biggest in Vietnam.”
In fact, the museum owns the largest number of national treasures in the Mekong Delta.
|The statue of god Vishnu, made of sandstone, is one of five national treasures on display at the Dong Thap Museum. (Photo: baotang.dongthap.gov.vn)
The most notable outdoor exhibit is the MiG-17 aircraft that was flown by Hero of the People’s Armed Forces Colonel Nguyen Van Bay, a Dong Thap native. Bay, one of 19 Vietnamese pilots certified an aerial “ace”, dhot down seven American fighter jets. He was the MiG-17 pilot who downed the greatest number of warplanes.
In 2018, provincial authorities opened an exhibition room dedicated to music teacher Nguyen Vinh Bao, a Dong Thap resident, on his 101st birthday, inside the Dong Thap Museum.
Tour guide Ngoc Han told us: “Teacher Nguyen Vinh Bao is a prominent figure in Vietnam’s music industry. He’s good at playing both traditional and Western musical instruments. He made a substantial contribution to the recognition of ‘don ca tai tu’ (southern opera) by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity. His songs have been composed mostly on the ‘dan tranh’ (16-chord zither). He innovated the use of 17, 19, and 21 chords and wrote a guide book on how to play the ‘dan tranh’.”
The Museum is committed to teaching younger generations about the province’s history and heroic tradition.
Le Nguyen Yen My of Cao Lanh city said: “The Museum taught me about the resistance wars in my home province of Dong Thap. I’m so proud of our historic achievements.”
| The statue of Goddess Laksmi is one of the most beautiful stone-carving products preserved until today. (Photo: baotang.dongthap.gov.vn)
The Museum collaborates with the managers of historical relics and scenic spots in Dong Thap to promote local tourism. It welcomes over 100,000 visitors each year.