Thai Museum Day Date in the current year: September 19, 2024

Thai Museum Day Thai Museum Day is a national observance in Thailand celebrated on September 19. It was officially established in 1995 to commemorate the foundation anniversary of the Bangkok National Museum.

The Bangkok National Museum was established on September 19, 1874 by King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) to store and display the private collection of antiquities collected by his father, King Mongkut (Rama IV).

The museum was originally located in the Concordia Pavilion of the Grand Palace (the monarch’s official residence). Three years later, Chulalongkorn abolished the title of vice king and ordered that the museum be moved to the Front Palace (Wang Na), which used to be the vice king’s residence. The Wang Na museum was renamed the Bangkok Museum in 1926 and received its present-day name, the Bangkok National Museum, in 1934.

The Bangkok National museum consists of three buildings. The main building hosts the museum’s three permanent exhibitions: the Thai History Gallery, the Archaeological and Art History Collections (consisting of the Prehistory Gallery and the Art History Gallery), and the Decorative Arts and Ethnological Collection.

In addition to the main building complex, the museum includes the Buddhaisawan Chapel and the Red House. Built in 1787, the chapel is notable for the murals depicting scenes from the Buddha’s life and housing the Phra Phuttha Sihing, a highly revered image of the Buddha. The Red House was built for King Rama I’s elder sister, Princes Sri Sudarak, and subsequently moved from Thonburi to the Grand Palace in Bangkok for King Rama II’s wife, Queen Sri Suriyendra. Some of the Queen’s possessions are exhibited in the Red House.

The Bangkok National Museum is one of the largest museums in the region. Its collection features exhibits from different periods of the Thai history (Dvaravati, Srivijaya, Sukhothai, Ayutthaya), dating back to the New Stone Age. One of the most valuable artefacts exhibited in the museum is the Ram Khamhaeng Inscription, a stone stele with the earliest example of the Thai script, which was added to UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register in 2003.

In addition to Thai exhibits, the museum has an extensive collection of Asian Buddhist art, including Greco-Buddhist art (Gandhara, India), the Chinese Tang dynasty art, the art of Champa (Vietnam), the Saliendra dynasty art (Indonesia), and the Khmer art (Cambodia).

The Bangkok National Museum is the core of the national museums of Thailand, operated by the Fine Arts Department of the Ministry of Culture. These museums are tasked with safeguarding historical and cultural artefacts that belong to the state.

As of 2016, the national museums of Thailand included 43 national museums operating across the country, such as the National Gallery, the Wat Benchamabophit Dusitvanaram Museum, the Royal Elephant National Museum, the National Museum of Royal Barges, a number of regional branches, and more.

On the occasion of Thai Museum Day, most national museums host special events, and some, including the Bangkok National Museum, offer free admission.

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Thai Museum Day, Bangkok National Museum, observances in Thailand, cultural observances