Alexandre Yersin Museum, Nha Trang - review by Rusty Compass
Nha Trang | see and do guide

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Alexandre Yersin Museum, Nha Trang

| 25 Nov 2011
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Alexandre Yersin Museum, Nha Trang
10 Tran Phu, Nha Trang
0800 - 1100 / 1400 - 1630 Mon - Fri

Our rating
25 Nov 2011

A small easily visited museum celebrating the life of former Nha Trang resident and leading figure in the scientific fight against the plague, Alexandre Yersin. Yersin was also a leading figure in the development of medical science in Vietnam.

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Swiss born, French physician Alexandre Yersin based himself in Nha Trang for nearly fifty years until his death in 1943. He led a prolific life in Vietnam as a leading figure in the global fight against the plague, the founder of the hilltstation town of Dalat, and the founder of Vietnam’s Pasteur Institutes. He was also intimately involved in the development of the medical profession.

Testimony to his standing in Vietnam is that, as far as we can tell, he’s one of three Frenchmen whose names were not removed from street signs with relish when the communists took over the country.  He joins Pasteur and Calmette, also noted for their accomplishments in science and medicine. Unsurprisingly, De Gaulle and other French political luminaries were less fortunate.

The museum may not be a totally fitting tribute to Yersin’s life, but if you’re interested in history and one of the most positive characters of the French colonial experience, make sure you pass by. The collection includes pieces from Yersin’s home and his laboratory as well as letters and original photography from his exploration around Vietnam.

The museum has been supported by French benefactors. It’s hard to imagine Yersin, who was fluent in Vietnamese, would approve of the primacy accorded to the French language in the museum, even over the Vietnamese language. English captioning is basic.

During our visit, the museum attendant went out the back and grabbed a collection of original letters, a notebook an address book and photos belonging to Yersin - a real highlight of the visit.
Mark Bowyer
Mark Bowyer is the founder and publisher of Rusty Compass.
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