Saturday, October 30, 2010

Nonthaburi local museum

So far the best local museum I have visited in Thailand has been the one in Nonthaburi. Not only it seems it has better funding than those local museums in the Bangkok district, the location in the historic province hall complex right in the center of Nonthaburi, right at the Nonthaburi pier on the Chao Phraya river. The only major drawback - photography is not allowed inside, so I sadly cannot show the exhibits in here. However, the webmaster of Tour Bangkok had been allowed to photograph, so in his long review of the museum one can find both outside and inside views. In fact, it was that site which made me aware of this museum.

The museum only covers few rooms on two floors, other parts of the complex are still used as a kindergarten or seem to be empty. However, from a map placed near the entrance there are plans to enlarge the museum a lot and cover many more parts of the building. This building did not just contain the province hall, but also had the district office of Mueang Nonthaburi district and the provincial court - not that different from the current governmental center of Nonthaburi. One of the exhibitions rooms is thus on the history of the building, too bad I could not photograph the map which office was in which part of the complex.

The most beautiful rooms are on the top floor, one explaining the traditional main occupation in the province - pottery. It has figurines explaining the way the mud was turned into bowls and pots, and these figurines are of course also made by pottery. There are also two videos to be seen, and most fascinating for our daughter the magic screen showing a scene of pottery loaded into boats. Most interesting for me was the room focusing on the symbols of the province, featuring a large provincial seal in center. Inside the cabinet were the coins with the seal, the stamps, and also an antiquarian booklet compiled by the province administration with history and data on the province. I would love to have a facsimile reprint of that booklet - maybe in the later development of the museum a gift shop will be added, and that would be a great special item to sell there then.

As I could not photograph the inside, I tried to catch many views of the wooden structures of the building, beautifully carved. Too bad all the modern administrative offices have a much more boring and plain building style, this old building has much more charm - but obviously much harder to maintain.

While visitors of the museums are allowed to park their car inside the complex, maybe the best way to go the museum is to take the Express boat - when disembarking from the boat at the final stop upriver one is directly at the museum already, and though it may take longer than by car the boat travel is the cheapest and also most scenic way to travel there. Maybe I will try out this way for a return visit, when the phase one in the master plan is finished there'll be many more rooms with interesting exhibits - only area A was finished in early 2010.

1 comment:

Boonie S said...

Fascinating review. Thanks for this.

All the best, Boonie