The Saigon Museum of Fine Arts has an impressive collection, but the building itself is something of a work of art as well. Originally built as a villa for the wealthy Hua family in 1929. The building was designed by a French architect, and is one of the most beautiful old buildings in District 1. Although it had fallen into a state of slight disrepair, the old villa was re-purposed in the 1980s to house the city's museum of fine arts, considered second only to the National Museum of Fine Arts in Hanoi.
Although the old mansion has been redesigned into an art museum, many of the original fittings and fixtures were preserved. A particular favorite of mine is the original 1920s-era box elevator.
The museum boasts a great collection of ancient Buddhist artifacts, but the biggest exhibits are those of 20th-century art. Modern Vietnamese art is heavily influenced by both traditional rural life and the many wars that the country underwent during the 19th and 20th centuries.
The museum is located in District 1, the center of the city. Walk along the wide, busy roads jammed with motorbikes to the old villa, which offers visitors a quiet place of peace and tranquility in the busy heart of Ho Chi Minh City.
he museum has tried hard to preserve a lot of the original architecture, most impressively the original stained glass! It adds some color and a unique atmosphere to the exhibits.
Even if you aren't that interested in art, it's worth it to visit this beautiful museum even if only to see the antique fixtures and historic architecture.
Ho Chi Minh City Museum of Fine Arts
97A Phó Đức Chính, Phường Nguyễn Thái Bìn, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
Open every day except Monday