Plans to move museum axed after locals protest

Dvaravati Wheels of Law at the Nakhon Pathom Museum. Source: Bangkok Post 20150507

Plans to relocate the artefacts from the Nakhon Pathom Museum to another province were axed after fierce protests from locals in the province. The Phra Pathom Chedi National Museum houses a number of artefacts from the Dvaravati period, spanning the 4th – 10th centuries.

Dvaravati Wheels of Law at the Nakhon Pathom Museum. Source: Bangkok Post 20150507
Dvaravati Wheels of Law at the Nakhon Pathom Museum. Source: Bangkok Post 20150507

Museum move sparks ire
Bangkok Post, 07 May 20015

Thousands fight plan to close Nakhon Pathom museum
The Nation, 12 May 2015

Plan to change Nakhon Pathom museum axed
The Nation, 13 May 2015

Ministry scraps museum merger plan after protests
Bangkok Post, 13 May 2015

The Culture Ministry has decided to shoot down a proposal to make changes to the Phra Pathom Chedi National Museum following strong protests by locals.

The Fine Arts Department, which is supervised by the ministry, is working on the proposal as it tries to improve museums in the face of staff shortages and budget constraints.

The proposal, however, has enraged people in Nakhon Pathom province as they suspect the department wants to take artefacts and historical items from the only national museum in their hometown.

Locals do not believe the department’s explanation that antiques from the Phra Pathom Chedi National Museum would only be put on display temporarily at the Uthong National Museum in Suphan Buri province – or to be exact – only when the Phra Pathom Chedi National Museum is relocated to another better-equipped venue.

The scepticism arose when word spread that the department planned to close or merge nine museums.

Full stories here, here, here and here.

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Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

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