The War Remnants Museum (and its playroom)

We planned to spend a few days sightseeing in Ho Chi Minh City to end our stay in Vietnam. However, because of all sorts of (relatively minor) ailments, we ended up spending more time ferrying ourselves to and from the clinic for various check ups while trying to keep up with work. (We’re all fine!)

We did visit the War Remnants Museum – formerly called the “Exhibition House for Crimes of War and Aggression” and, prior to that, called the “Exhibition House for US and Puppet Crimes.” (As Vietnam’s formal relations with the US have changed over the years, so has the name.)

I had read mixed reviews of the museum. After visiting, my (non-expert) impression is that there are definitely omissions and slants to put the Viet Cong in overly positive light. (We saw similar omissions in exhibits at the Hỏa Lò Prison in Hanoi.) Still, even with the whiff of propaganda, I think there is value in the exhibits as a sobering look at the the impact of war, particularly on civilians.

We’re lucky enough to be in a time and situation where three-year-old Theo doesn’t yet need to understand the graphic details of war. So, Brian and I traded off time hanging out with Theo at the large playroom on the top floor of the museum while the other adult toured the exhibitions.

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(Since I could only find less recent notes of this playroom’s existence when searching online, I’ll confirm that as of February 2016 it’s there and quite extensive. Just make sure to take off your shoes before entering.)