Hue War Museum, also known as the Thua Thien Hue History Museum, is a small museum located near to the Imperial Citadel in Hue, with exhibits relating to the war between the North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong against the Americans and South Vietnamese which lasted nearly 20 years in one form or another from 1955 until 1975.
Hue War Museum is open from 8:00 to 11:00 and then again from 14:00 to 17:00 except on Sunday when it’s closed. Entrance to the museum building costs 50,000 VND.
About Hue War Museum
Hue War Museum is a museum of two parts. The more interesting part of the museum is the area close to the main entrance with two rows of heavy duty military equipment used in the Vietnam War.
Displays of Military Hardware
Each of these items is labelled in English and Vietnamese, which is helpful. The first row is of war planes and artillery. The second row is of tanks, a helicopter and a small US Air Force Cessna jet fighter.
The plaques indicate that most of these war planes, tanks, helicopters and field artillery pieces were left behind by the Americans when they withdrew in 1973 and abandoned by the forces of the Republic of Vietnam when they surrendered in 1975. These are not relics left behind in Hue but rather display pieces brought here to the museum. They are interesting nonetheless.
The Museum Exhibits are Less Interesting
The Hue War Museum itself is lack lustre. There are some photographs, some small arms and other artefacts. The information in English is very poor and the museum is badly maintained.
It is a real shame that more has not been made of Hue War Museum to give information about how the war affected Hue itself. Given the proximity of the museum to the Imperial Citadel it would be appropriate for the museum to give more information about the near complete destruction of the Imperial Citadel during the Vietnam War, and the transformation of the city, staying clear of the contentious and much disputed topic of whether the Viet Cong executed thousands of Hue’s civilians during the Tet Offensive.
Tet Offensive and the Battle of Hue
The war really impacted Hue during the Tet Offensive of 1968, when on the 30th January combined Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army forces staged simultaneously attacks across South Vietnam, effectively demoralising the American people and starting a chain of events which lead to the US withdrawal 5 years later.
The bloodiest fighting of the Tet Offensive, and perhaps the whole war, happened in Hue with terrible consequences for the local population and the historic monuments in the city. Given the momentousness of the fighting in Hue it is surprising that there is not a bigger and better museum to remind later generations of the history of what went on in 1968.
Location of Hue War Museum
Hue War Museum is 2.4 km by road from Hue Railway Station.