Udon Thani Provincial Museum – An Old Relic and New Shoes
Whenever I’m in Thailand Wonderful Wi and myself usually know what we are going to do each and every day. On the rare occasions when we wake up and have nothing planned we tend to discuss our day’s intentions over breakfast or before we even leave our room for that first meal of the day. One of those unplanned moments happened to be on the second day of my most recent trip to Thailand back in May.
It was about nine in the morning and we were in our apartment room in Udon Thani. Wilai was watching a Chinese movie on TV and I was stood on our balcony polluting the city’s air with cigarette smoke.
Wi’s choice of TV channel had driven me outside because she had chosen to watch one of those ancient Chinese warrior films where the hero or heroine can jump fifty feet in the air and outfight 100 enemy warriors singlehandedly. Wilai loves watching them but they have cost me a few packets of cigarettes over the years.
I spoke to Wilai from the balcony.
“Do you want to go and see Udon Thani’s museum today?”
“Wilai did you hear me. Do you want to go and see Udon Thani’s museum today?”
“Naaaaaaargh. I want go chopping (shopping) at Central Plaza. I want buy new choose (shoes). You can go moo-zee-um alone”.
Her reply left me emotionally shattered, my Thai girl had chosen to buy new shoes instead of viewing old relics with an old relic at Udon Thani’s Provincial Museum. Surely Mills and Boon would go bust if they published love stories like that.
Udon Thani Provincial Museum
Udon Thani’s Provincial museum was only a short ten minute walk from the apartment block where we were staying and I made the journey alone. The museum is also just a couple of minutes gentle stroll from Udon Thani’s Nong Prajak Park and is situated on Phosi Rd. The building (shown above, photo source Pram Laos) was formerly a girls school but in January 2004 it opened its doors to the public in the form of a museum exhibiting the history, archaeology, geology and culture of Udon Thani.
The Rashinuthid Building is a two-storey brick-built neo-Palladium style structure with each floor consisting of six rooms which display different aspects of Udon Thani Province’s past and present.
- Visitor Centre and Reception – Entrance to the museum was free and included a very good brochure detailing the historical background to the museum (Rashinuthid Building) and from the pamphlet I garnered much information for this post. The Visitor Centre also displayed ancient weapons and guns.
- Natural Study and Geological Room – Natural elements and resources such as fossils, stone shells and dinosaur bones were exhibited here.
- Anthropological and Racial Room– The history of Udon Thani Province’s early settlers is presented here in the form of models showcasing the layout of an ancient wood structured village and life-size ones of its typical inhabitants (photo right). There is also pottery, hunting weapons and other village antiquities on display.
- Historical and Archeological Room – On view here are archeological discoveries from Ban Chiang village and Phu Prabat Historical Park which include human skeletons, pottery, bronze ornaments and Buddha images.
- Culture and Arts Room – The centrepiece here is an old weaving machine used to make Mhi Khid cloth and Khid silk.
- Historical Background and City Development of Prince Kromluang Prajak Silapakthom – This room is dedicated to the life and works of Prince Kromluang Prajak Silapakthom, the founder of Udon Thani city, and includes many drawings and photographs he produced detailing the early years of the city.
- Prince Kromluang Prajak Silapakthom Room – Photographs and background details about the life of Prince Kromluang Prajak Silapakthom. Also featured are both genuine and model items of his personal belongings.
- Ban Chiang and Phu Prabat Cultures Room – A collection of oil paintings illustrating the ancient lifestyles of people in the villages of Ban Chiang and Phu Prabat.
- Thong Yai Royal Lineage Room – Photographs and stories from the Thong Yai Royal ancestry.
- Ancient Photographs Room – Photographs of official visits to Udon Thani by King Bhumibol Adulyadej, Her Majesty Queen Sirikit and members of the Royal Family.
- Buddhist Monks Room – Two rooms dedicated to some of Udon Thani’s most respected monks with a special display about the merit making of highly revered Wat Pa Ban Tad forest temple monk Luangta Maha Bua Yannasamphanno (1913-2011) who passed away in January this year.
I would apologize for the lack of museum related photographs attached to this post but instead I’d like to thank the staff at Udon Thani Provincial Museum for allowing me to take a few pictures despite it being against their normal policy.
Udon Thani Provincial Museum is open Monday to Friday 8am-4:30pm and Saturday-Sunday 8am-4pm. Entrance is free but there is a donation box on the reception desk to which I made a small gratuity.
If you are ever in Udon Thani city and find yourself with an hour or two of free time then I can recommend Udon Thani Provincial Museum as a very worthwhile place to visit.
Once again thanks to the museum staff for their help, (they did offer me a guided tour which I foolishly turned down), and also to Pram Laos website for allowing me to publish their museum photograph.