Hồ Chí Minh City Museum, also know as Gia Long Palace, is a historical site and museum in Ho Chi Minh city. The museum used to be the Palace of Governor of Cochina and then the office of the imperial delegate of the King.

History of the museum

The museum was designed by the French architect – Alfred Foulhoux. Construction of the building began in 1885 and was completed in 1890. The original purpose of the building was the Commercial Trade Museum displaying domestic products. However, the building became the residence of the Governor of Cochinchina – Henri Éloi Danel (1850 – 1898).

In 1945, the building changed owners five times. In March 1945, Japan toppled France, Governor Yoshio Minoda (Japanese) occupied this palace.

Four months later, the Japanese handed over this palace to the Empire of Vietnam. And then the palace used as the residence of Lieutenant General Nguyễn Văn Sâm.

On August 25, 1945, the revolutionary forces arrested Nguyễn Văn Sâm. After that, the building became the headquarters of the Provisional Administrative Committee of the South, later renamed the People’s Committee of the South.

On September 10, 1945, Lieutenant Colonel B. W Roe (British military mission) occupied the palace and made it the Allied Mission headquarters.

From May 23, 1947, after retaking Saigon, the French assigned this palace as the headquarters of the autonomous Cochinchina government and then transferred it to Trần Văn Hữu as the Governor’s Palace (later changed to Premier) from June 2, 1948.

After Geneva accords (from June 26 to September 7, 1954), Prime Minister Ngô Đình Diệm used as the temporary official residence. Bảo Đại renamed the palace to Gia Long Palace. On February 27, 1962, the Independence Palace was bombed, and Ngô Đình Diệm moved the presidential palace here. Twenty months later, on November 1, 1963, the Saigon army made a coup, and Ngô Đình Diệm was overthrown. 

In 1966, the Independence Palace was rebuilt, this building was used as the headquarters of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Vietnam.

After April 30, 1975, the City People’s Committee decided to use this building as the Ho Chi Minh Revolutionary Museum. On December 13, 1999, it was renamed to its current name.

Interest things at the Ho Chi Minh City Museum

Ho Chi Minh City Museum has 9 permanent thematic exhibition spaces. Each space is a story throughout the history of the formation and development of Ho Chi Minh City. In the Nature-Archeology room, visitors can admire ancient relics such as stone axes, stone picks, jewelry, weapons… The Geography – Administration room recreates the development of the city from a wildland to an Eastern-style citadel under the Nguyễn Dynasty, then to a Western urban form during the French colonial period, and finally to a modern appearance today. In addition, there are also ancient maps about the history of more than 300 years of formation and development of the city…

In particular, the space “Saigon Culture – Ho Chi Minh City” shows the richness and diversity of culture – a characteristic of the southern land. This place displays typical cultural features of ethnic groups: Vietnamese, Chăm, Chinese, Khmer and the cultural confluence that makes up the land of Saigon….

With preserved values, Ho Chi Minh City Museum is not only an urban architectural heritage but also a proud part of the history of the urban Saigon – Ho Chi Minh City.

Useful information