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War Remnants Museum

by nate on November 4, 2009

Entryway of War Remnants Museum

Entryway of War Remnants Museum

After exploring Vietnam for 7 weeks, the War Remnants Museum in Saigon is perhaps the only museum I would truly recommend as a must-see, especially as an American. The museum is well curated and the most comprehensive collection of artifacts and documentation of the entire ‘American War’.

Traversing my way through the two story museum was quite sobering, with touches of humility along the way. The account of the war is extremely biased, with no record of a war between North Vietnam and South Vietnam, but rather a massacre of Vietnamese people by the Americans. It’s a hard pill to swallow, and at times it was almost offensively biased, but it holds much truth to the whole event, and important to experience for a greater perspective.

A large section of the museum is dedicated to the chemical warfare we introduced, with Agent Orange still causing serious birth defects 3 generations later. This was a tough section to get through, and the still-birth fetuses in the middle really have an impact.

Outside the museum, an array of planes, helicopters, and tanks are scattered throughout the courtyard, and a separate small exhibit of the “tiger cages” used to house prisoners during the war.

Overall, the museum was a great final piece to see. After visiting the DMZ, crawling through narrow Viet Cong tunnels, hearing war stories of soldiers on both sides, and then finally experiencing remnants, images and consequences of this complicated war, I feel like Becca and I have received a good account of the war that helps balance out the American perspective we grew up with.

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