Visitors to an exhibition that opened in Hanoi on Dec. 3 praised the way Vietnamese people had used optimism, creativity and ingenuity during hard times to transform scrap metal from weapons into objects such as oil lamps, ashtrays, furniture and even musical instrument.

The exhibition titled Toi Ke Chuyen Nay (I Tell This Story) has 50 objects on show from a private collection belonging to journalist Nguyen Ngoc Tien from Ha Noi Moi (New Ha Noi) newspaper.

Tien has a passion for war memorabilia, and he has opened a coffee shop to display some of the finest items from his collection.

All of the objects on show were made from the remains of weapons used by French and US forces, including helmets made from mortars, gongs fashioned from bombs, grenade oil lamps, and vases crafted from spent ammunition.

"I've been collecting for a long time now, and thanks to support from my newspaper, I've been able to organise this exhibition," said Tien.

"The event coincides with the 40th anniversary of the victorious ‘ Dien Bien Phu in the Air' campaign."

"I named my exhibition I Tell This Story because I think each exhibit has a different tale to tell," he said.

One of those is a set of metal furniture crafted by an old man from the fuselage of an American aircraft shot down over Hanoi during the US air blitz on the city in 1972. The old man, who ran a tea shop, took some remnants of the aircraft home and fashioned it into a small stylish table with six stools that can be slotted conveniently away.

Visitor Nguyen Phong, a veteran, was moved when he saw and touched the objects displayed at the exhibition.

"They evoke my memories of war," he said.

"For adults, it's like a step back in time, and for young people, it reminds them how hard the previous generations fought for peace," he added.

The exhibition will run until Dec. 8 at Exhibition House, 29 Hang Bai Street , Hanoi.-VNA