The Ho Chi Minh Museum is part of what used to be the headquarters of the Imperial Transport Corporation (Messageries Impériales), one of the first buildings built by the French colonialists after capturing Saigon (the former name of Ho Chi Minh city). Its construction began in 1862 and was completed a year later. The 2-story building was designed in a western style. On its roof, there were two dragons admiring the moon, which is why the building and the harbor next to it are called Nha Rong (Dragon House).
In 1955, after French colonialism was defeated in Vietnam, the Saigon trading port, a complex that included the Dragon House, was handed over to the government of South Vietnam. In 1965, Dragon House was used by the US military as the headquarters of the US Military Aid Receiving Office. Since 1975, when Vietnam was reunified, Dragon House – a Saigon icon – has been a memorial to President Ho Chi Minh and became a museum that marks the spot where Ho Chi Minh, known as Nguyen Tat Thanh back then, boarded a French ship bound for France as a cook as he began a quest to liberate Vietnam from the French colonialists.
|The Ho Chi Minh Museum tells about President Ho Chi Minh's family (Photo: VOV)
Phan Que Huynh, a guide at the Ho Chi Minh Museum, said, “The Museum exhibits a mock-up of L'Admiral Latouche Tréville, a luxurious merchant ship. Archives at the Ho Chi Minh Museum note that on June 2, 1911, the ship docked at Nha Rong Harbor from Hai Phong and recruited more crew members, including Nguyen Tat Thanh, who changed his name to Van Ba.”
11,000 documents, photos, and other items about Ho Chi Minh’s life and revolutionary career are on display in seven halls covering 1,500 square meters. Three of the seven halls are dedicated to Ho Chi Minh’s journey abroad and the great affection between him and southerners.
“The exhibits tell numerous stories about Ho Chi Minh. For example, the payroll of the crew abroad L'Admiral Latouche Tréville records the young patriot’s earliest days on his quest for national liberation,” according to guide Huynh.
The Museum is always packed with visitors on Vietnam National Day (September 2) and the President’s birthday (May 19). Vietnamese people are grateful for his enormous devotion.
| (Photo: VOV)
One said, “Every time I visit the Museum, I’m really proud of being Vietnamese. The way President Ho Chi Minh cared for this country and all the people touches my heart. I bring my kids to this Museum so that when they learn about President Ho Chi Minh at school, they will an understand and remember it.”
Another added, "I’m really happy to be here. I learn all about President Ho Chi Minh here.”