Sunday, May 17, 2009

District museum Bangkok Yai

One of several district museums I visited recently is the one of Bangkok Yai district. In fact I went the three times, the first time I was really too late, the second time I was there half hour before the closing time I read at the local museums database. But actually this had its good as well, because when I then returned there with my wife she could talk with the guide who was very talkative. And additionally to the district museum we could listen to a concert by the school orchestra which was preparing for a public performance few days later.

I was a bit cheating with the introductory photo - that one does not show the district museum, but the Rit Narong Ron museum (พิพิธภัณฑ์บ้านคุณหลวงฤทธิณรงค์รอน). This building was the home of Khun Luang Rit Narong Ron, who as being childless donated his land to become the public school which now bears his name. We couldn't see much in there as upstairs was locked, but it is a well-preserved old styled house. The district museum however wasn't built inside there, but in a large school room next to it.

The first exhibit is the mockup of the Vichaiprasit Fort, located at the mouth of Bangkok Yai canal to the Chao Phraya. On the wall it has posters with information on Wang Doem Palace, the palace of King Taksin and later residence of several other royals.This is now located within a Navy complex, so it was new to me that it is possible to visit it - next time in Bangkok it will be quite high on my list. But for me as a technology guy the old printing press and the original Thai types was even more interesting. It was within this district where Dan Bradley started printing in Thailand with the first newspaper Bangkok Recorder.

Further exhibits include a boat loaded with fruits, as the hinterland of the district was filled with orchards and only at the rim of the river and the canal it had actual settlements. Next to the exit it has two shop house facades. Though I don't know from which part of the districts these were supposed to originate, they are to show the style of living in the past - well, of the wealthy. There are also several more posters on the walls, giving the histories of the various temples in the district, most notably of course Wat Arun.

The museum is rather easy to find - when you drive on Phetkasem towards Wong Wian Yai, directly before the bridge over the Khlong (which also marks the beginning of Phetkasem) turn into the narrow sidestreet, Phetkasem Soi 2. This ends on the school yard, and you cannot miss to see the Rit Narong Ron museum depicted above. The museum is located to the right of that one. Though it is possible to walk there from the newly opened Wong Wian Yai Skytrain station, that's still a 30 minute walk.

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