Saturday, October 06, 2012
Visiting the Siam Museum.
I have heard about the Siam Museum for few years and had wished to visit. Today, I just went to that area so I decided to drop by. It is just within walking distance from Wat Po. The museum is located on a century old 3-storey building, formerly the office of the Ministry of Economics which later became the Ministry of Commerce. The ministry has moved away already. The Siam Museum is organized by NDMI (National Discovery Museum Institute), a unit of the Knowledge Management Institute (KMI), a public organization financially supported by the government of Thailand.
The museum opens 6 days a week, from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m., except each Monday. It closes on Songkran, and New Year days. Thai school children, Thai grownups, and foreign tourists pay different admission fees. (I know for sure that many tourists would complain abou this "unfair" practice. But if they would just imagine that Thais were subsidized by the Thai government then perhaps they would feel better and stop complaining.)
I think the idea about having this museum to explain to Thais, as well as visitors of Bangkok, about the roots of people of Siam and Bangkok, was good. Few years ago, I remember reading articles by Prof. Chai-anan, former chairman, that he visited good museums abroad a few years earlier and had wished to build a hand-on museum for visitors to experience history and to appreciate the mixed race nature of modern Siam.
Overall, the quality of exhibitions are good, with a number of high-tech gimmicks, and many games for children. I wished it had more genuine artifacts to show and more exhibition space. I wished they had budget to build another exhibition building in the future.
Before I left, I visited the museum's gift-shop on the first floor. They have some history-related books there, Thai and English. They also have nice blank sheet paper note-books which I bought on. The quality of paper is very good. The price is much cheaper than imported ones from Europe that I recently saw in certain high-end department stores. And tonight I have already started using it, and sticked a pen on to it. I intend to grab this one with me all the time, wherever I go in case some good ideas pop up so I can note down.