Wednesday, June 17, 2009
The War Remnants Museum
I (Chuck) took solo excursion to the Vietnam War Remnants Museum this afternoon. The museum used to be called The American War Crimes Museum, and it has a pointed anti-American perspective to the war - with some evidence to back it up. I am a big fan of perspective, especially in teaching history, and I took the museum and its exhibits with a proverbial grain of salt. I think I was the only American in the museum at the time, and I found myself looking around for reactions of people as I examined the photos, remnants, and artifacts from the war. Obviously the Vietnamese have a different perspective on the war and American involvement, and I don't think any of the combatants would agree that the war (or any war) is better than peaceful resolution. I also could see through the heavy propaganda in many facets of the exhibit, and I hope that all visitors from any country can see the bias as well. Overall, it was a difficult and somewhat emotional hour and a half, but very valuable and one that I can share with students in the future.
My biggest issue with the museum is the selling af American dog tags in the gift shop. I thought about complaining, thought about buying all of them and trying to have them returned, thought about finding another American to discuss it ... but I let it go by walking out of the museum and thinking about it on my travel back to the hotel. Before I left, I did look at some of the local childrens' pictures of their view of war and peace ... a fitting ending to my visit.
I took pictures and some video of some of the exhibits. Many of the photos were ghastly - some for real impact, some for shock value - and I chose not to take those images on camera.
Posted by Taft - AMERICANHISTORY RULES! at 8:41 AM