The last building one would see in a tour of the Ho Chi Minh Complex in Hanoi, Vietnam, is the Ho Chi Minh Museum. This big, imposing building was built in the late 1980s and it was inaugurated in 1990 to mark the birth centennary of Ho Chi Minh. The building was built in a shape of white lotus flower. At the center of the building there is a large auditorium that is used for meetings and conferences. The main exhibition floor shows documents and show pieces that highlight Ho Chi Minh’s life and his revolutionary cause.
By the time we reached the museum, I think we’ve gone through enough displays on Ho Chi Minh that we were not that interested in spending more time there. We decided to rest a little bit, and took photos outside the museum, and then looked for the entrance where we came from to find the place where we could claim our backpacks that we left there before coming in.
I’m not sure what the Vietnamese government officially promoted this museum to be, or what the Vietnamese people think of the content of the display. But considering the stereotype of a communist government, and given everything else that we could see that promoted Ho Chi Minh as a national hero (or even higher status than that), I couldn’t help to think that this place might be part of a propaganda campaign to promote the communism values. It’s still interesting to think that even with such government control in place, life in Vietnam (especially in Hanoi as we saw it) seemed to be nothing different than what we see elsewhere — the signs of economic progress and capitalism could be seen everywhere and it didn’t seem that the local Vietnamese felt oppressed by the government.
The photo below was taken outside the museum. I thought it was interesting to note the sculpture at the front of the building prominently showed the hammer and the sickle, the symbol of communism, and there was also the Vietnamese flag in the front (red flag with yellow star). Not that often you would get a picture taken with such symbols in the background.