9 Apr 2011


We have all been to boring museums . Fortunately they are a dying breed . Presentation standards and techniques have advanced and in many countries even once very boring museums have been transformed -become entertaining and informative . Except in Vietnam where really boring museums are alive and well . The Ho Chi Minh Museum in Ho Chi Minh City ( Saigon) must be a front runner for the prize for the world's most boring museum . It cannot have changed for decades . I was unable to take any photos -- it was too dark and dilapidated .Outside there are two aircraft from the "American war " .One is the jet used by a dissident South Vietnamese Air Force officer to bomb the Presidential palace in 1963 . No effort has been made to preserve the aircraft .They are literally rotting away in the hot ,humid Saigon climate--see photo below .

Nearly as boring as the Ho Chi Minh Museum is the Presidential Palace --which was rebuilt after the 1963 bombing. Yes, it does have a special place in Vietnam's history as it was where the North Vietnamese tanks burst through the gates in an iconic moment of victory but the palace itself is just dreary and particularly the bombproof basement where the South Vietnamese President had his war rooms .I took two photos of the  exhibits .Perhaps it really was this drab but it really looks as if they have not even tried -- the phones stand on the desks without wires to a socket --there are no other touches of life- just these metal desks.

Vietnam needs to lift its game when it comes to its tourist attractions . Drab museums ,rotting aircraft and fast fading photos of US "atrocities" may have enthralled a previous generation but the world is moving on and there is another generation now who expect more involving exhibits. Vietnam knows how to present as the many new super smart brand name shops a few hundred metres from the museums show.It is a vibrant, rapidly changing country and fixing up its museums ( and its sad zoo) is a minor task compared with what they have already achieved .

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