About the Museum

The Việt Museum (Viện Bảo Tàng Việt Nam), also known as the Museum of the Boat People and the Republic of Việt Nam, begins with the arrival of Vietnamese refugees in the aftermath of the Vietnam War.  The fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975 resulted in the displacement of approximately three million Vietnamese refugees. The resettlement period that ensued brought more than one million Vietnamese refugees to the United States.

Upon arriving in 1976, Vũ Văn Lộc founded the Immigration Resettlement and Cultural Center (IRCC) to provide educational and social services to the thousands of Vietnamese refugees coming to northern California. Beginning with the founding of the IRCC, Vũ Văn Lộc sought to build a collection dedicated to the experiences of the Vietnamese community in the US. The local Vietnamese community soon became involved with many donating items relevant to the various experiences of refugees, including veterans and those who survived the brutal “re-education” camps. 

The Vit Museum, founded in 2007

In 1990, Vũ Văn Lộc began to formally seek support to create a museum dedicated to the experiences of the Vietnamese community. The local Vietnamese community, in cooperation with politicians such as the former US President Jimmy Carter, rallied to support the creation of the museum. The aim, specifically once the IRCC became involved in the mid-1990s, was to create a museum in San Jose dedicated to the history and culture of Vietnamese refugees in the US. 

On March 14, 2006, the IRCC officially entered into an agreement with the City of San Jose and History Park San Jose, to establish the museum. The agreement enabled the IRCC to use the Greenwalt House to operate a museum with the intent to exhibit “artwork, artifacts, and other historical and cultural materials, public programs and workshops, class activities, and events related to the history of the Vietnamese immigration to and settlement in Santa Clara County.” 

In 2007, after more than thirty years of planning and collecting, the Việt Museum opened to the public. The Việt Museum is the first and largest museum dedicated to Vietnamese refugees. The aim of the Việt Museum is to create understanding and empathy for the experiences of the Vietnamese community in the United States. The Việt Museum believes in fostering a way for Vietnamese people in the diaspora to preserve their heritage and history.

In the present, the Việt Museum is in a period of transition centered on developing the official inventory of the collection and planning future exhibits. Going forward, the Việt Museum will continue to seek ways to share the history and experience of Vietnamese refugees. 

Replicas of two boats that had carried Vietnamese refugees are displayed in front of the Việt Museum 

Vũ Văn Lộc's Guided Tour of the Việt Museum (Vietnamese)

For contact and location please visit: https://www.sanjose.org/attraction/viet-museum 

Viet Museum is an organization under IRCC. Immigrant Resettlement and Cultural Center (IRCC), Inc is a Non-Profit Organization founded in San Jose since 1976. IRS-Section 501 (c) (3) Tax Exempt ID 94-2682548 Oct 20-1980.