HCM CITY — HCM City's museums lack the funds and staff required to preserve their thousands of valuable artefacts and other objects which face the danger of being damaged by the elements and deteriorating with the passage of time.
The city's seven public museums have more than 185,000 historical and art relics, according to figures from the People's Committee.
They only display a small part of them, with the rest being kept in warehouses.
"The storehouse of our museum is flooded when it rains," Tran Thi Thuy Phuong, curator of the Viet Nam Museum of History on Nguyen Binh Khiem Street, District 1, said.
"We spend hours scooping out water to protect stuff not kept on shelves," a man who works at the warehouse said.
The museum has more than 40,000 relics, only one- tenth of which are exhibited.
"The preservation of items that are easily damaged by water and humidity is very difficult and complex," Phuong said.
Many years after seeking funds from the city authorities, the museum recently received VND1.5 billion (US$71,400) for repairs and upgrades to the warehouse ahead of the rainy season.
Founded in 1987 the City Fine Arts Museum at 97A Pho Duc Chinh Street, District 1, has a huge collection of classical and contemporary artworks by renowned Vietnamese and foreign artists.
For lack of space, hundreds of paintings are stored in a third-floor room which becomes very hot in the afternoon.
"I think many paintings have been damaged by the hot weather," Nguyen Thi Tam, an expert on silk paintings, said.
The War Remnants Museum lacks personnel for its preservation department. However, according to director Huynh Ngoc Van, the museum is unable to hire people because of the low salaries offered.
Van said the city authorities last year approved an upgrade of the museum, including its warehouse, but the project remained on paper due to a lack of funds. — VNS