The Ho Chi Minh City Fine Arts Museum was established in September 1987 by the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee. It is housed in an impressive colonial building constructed at the turn of the century. The building once served as a commerce center.
Vietnam’s Ministry of Culture has designated it as a first-class Vietnamese national museum. It contains some of Vietnam’s greatest artworks created throughout the history of the nation. There are also works from renowned foreign artists exhibited there.
The museum has three exhibition floors. The first floor displays contemporary art by local and international artists. Most exhibits on this floor are from traveling shows and are only temporarily on display.
The second-floor galleries display contemporary art from the museum’s permanent collection. This collection features sketches, paintings, and statues, the theme of which concentrate on the resistance to the various foreign rulers throughout Vietnamese history.
On the third floor are displays of traditional works from the 1st century to the early 20th century, for example, traditional handicrafts created by the nation’s ethnic groups, Vietnamese antiques such as red-lacquered and gilded products, ceramics, and mother-of-pearl inlaid wood.
The museum also owns some priceless Cham, Indian, and Khmer art pieces, created between the 7th and 17th centuries. On the interior of the building is a unique old elevator reminiscent of the ones found in Paris. It is a work of art in itself!
The Ho Chi Minh City Fine Arts Museum is open Tuesday to Sunday from 9:00 AM to 4:45 PM. Admission is 10,000 Dong. The museum is located on Duc Chinh Street, just a few blocks from the traffic circle in front of the Ben Thanh Market.
Art lovers will also enjoy the multitude of art galleries found on and around Dong Khoi and Nguyen Hue streets.