Unsurprisingly, Vietnam takes its revolutionary foundations very much to heart. They’re shown off and commemorated in the Museum of the Vietnamese Revolution in downtown Hanoi.
Established in 1959 and apparently only infrequently updated since, the museum is a charming clash of ideas and history. It’s housed in a yellow colonial-style building that once served as the Trade Department Building in the Tong Dan area, just a block from Hanoi’s opera house. Its wide, tiled corridors are right out of 1950s Western government bureaucracy. Glass showcases have everything from weapons and flags used by revolutionaries on the front lines to propaganda posters to the everyday utensils used by Vietnamese peasants. There are statues of Ho Chi Minh the scholar, Ho Chi Minh the statesmen, and various other revolutionary leaders like Tran Phy.
This is very much a museum of artifacts. And many of those artifacts are fascinating. But it aims for a much less emotional pitch than the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City, and the artifacts don’t fully convey the raw zeal that powered the revolution.
Photos of the Museum of the Vietnamese Revolution
What to Know Before You Go
The Vietnam Revolutionary Museum is a few blocks from Hoan Kiem Lake‘s southeast corner.
If you’d like to dive deeper with some reading before your trip or during, here’s an excellent list of books of various genres related to Hanoi put together by Vietnamese novelist and poet Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai.