Con Dao Museum is located in in the center of Con Dao District, near other historical sites in Con Dao as Phu Hai Prison, Phu Son Camp, and Hang Duong Cemetery. It was built from December 2009, and finished in 2013. The total budget for this work is over VND 62 billion. Con Dao Museum is a meaningful work as well as a place of preserving the historical values, demonstrating the tragic but heroic period of Vietnam. The inauguration ceremony of Con Dao Musum was formally held on September 6, 2013. This is the place for local people and visitors to come and explore about the historical values, and heroic sacrifice of more than 20,000 soldiers at this sacred land.
As being one of famous attractions in Con Dao, Con Dao Museum is located opposite the historic relic of Pier 914. Prior to the Liberation Day, the museum was the house of the “island’s lord”. It was built on an area of about two hectares. Previously, this used to be the working area of 53 island’s lords who were infamous for brutal management. Here is the highest concentration of power on the island, in terms of administration, judice and military.
In Con Dao Museum, currently, nearly 2000 artifacts including photographs, blocks of artifacts, documents are exhibited in accordance with 4 topics: Con Dao - Nature and People, The Living Hell, Battle, Revolutionary School, and Con Dao Today. Con Dao Museum has an area of about 20,940 sq. meters. It includes exhibition room, storages of artifacts and restoring documents and artifacts, main hall, offices, and other ancillary works. In which the indoor galleries occupy 1,700 sq. meters, including a large space for important events and a showroom with 4 galleries: Con Dao - Country and People, Con Dao - Hell on earth, Con Dao - Revolutionary School, and Con Dao – Today. Meanwhile, the outdoor exhibition consists of documents, artifacts, and models belonging to themes of Con Dao Island from the past to present. The Con Dao Museum is built to function a place to keep cultural and historical heritages of Vietnam, and to serve the sustainable development of Con Dao District, especially tourism in Con Dao.
Artifacts used in galleries include artifacts of the museum (original artifacts) and artifacts contributed by the Board of Management of historical relics in Con Dao Island. Currently, Con Dao Prison Gallery has a total of 695 materials and objects, including 384 original materials and objects. There are 4,501 original artifacts and documents stored in the warehouse, including documents of the French and American imperialism, accounting for a half of the materials. The Board of Management of historical relics in Con Dao organizes groups and individuals who are knowledgeable about Con Dao Prison and local history to directly collect materials and objects from agencies, organizations and the former political prisoners. At the same time, they need met witnesses to record stories about political activities of the revolutionary fighters detained in Con Dao Prison. By dint of these activities, Con Dao Museum is increasingly improved and upgraded to meet the need of visitors.
Coming to the museum, visitors will be introduced on maquette about the overview of Con Dao Island, then start photo tours to galleries of artifacts, documents and photos denouncing the crimes through two brutal regimes of the French colonialism, American imperialism and their henchmen. Visitors also have chances to contemplate pictures and portraits of political prisoners and soldiers in Con Dao, images of resilient and indomitable fights of revolutionary soldiers and political cadres detained in an extreme brutal regime that no words can describe. You also witness materials describing the sentence to death of many communist soldiers including the heroic martyrs – Vo Thi Sau.
In this museum, visitors will be introduced to the “hell on earth” in which French colonialism and U.S. imperialism applied terrible and brutal tortures for Vietnamese political prisoners. Through historical relics of Prison 1, Prison 2, Prison 7, Tiger Cages, and byre you will understand more about the unforgiveable crime of the colonialism and imperialism. While visiting and listening to introduction, you will have an opportunity to understand about patriotism of Vietnamese people and sacrifices for independence and freedom of the country. This is an indispensable things to see in Con Dao. Just only 20,000 VND, you have a meaningful tour of visiting this museum.