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Thai FAD planning to consolidate smaller museums

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Stuccos reliefs at the Phra Pathom Chedi Museum in Nakhon Pathom, Thailand. Source: Bangkok Post 20150504

A larger story to the previous news piece about the attempted closure of the Nakhon Pathom museum is the plan by the Thai Fine Arts Department to consolidate a number of smaller museums. While efficient, this move is not necessarily widely accepted by the locals whose museums and heritage will be affected.

Stuccos reliefs at the Phra Pathom Chedi Museum in Nakhon Pathom, Thailand. Source: Bangkok Post 20150504

Stuccos reliefs at the Phra Pathom Chedi Museum in Nakhon Pathom, Thailand. Source: Bangkok Post 20150504

Central residents protest museum-closure plan
Bangkok Post, 04 May 2015

Hands off our heritage
The Nation, 11 May 2015

The Fine Arts Department’s planned consolidation of small national museums drew strong protest Monday from residents of Nakhon Pathom and Chai Nat provinces, who oppose moving local exhibits to large regional institutions.

embers of local governing bodies, governors and residents from the provinces in the Northeast and Central regions argued that the museums and their artwork represented local historical roots and identity and had invaluable spiritual value for them. Therefore, they reasoned, the artefacts should be kept in their hometowns.

Opponents have launched online protest campaigns and pledged to mobilise locals to demonstrate against the museum closures. Protesters in both Nakhon Pathom and Chai Nat said they were ready to take over the operation and expense of the museums if the department transferred ownership to the provinces.

The Fine Arts Department last week floated the idea of closing Phra Pathom Chedi National Museum in Nakhon Pathom and displaying its pieces from the Dvaravati period (9th-12th century) at U Thong National Museum in Suphan Buri.

The department already had named nine national museums it wanted to consolidate in Bangkok and other provinces, including Chainatmuni National Museum in Chai Nat.

Full stories here and here.

Protests take toll on visitors to museums in Bangkok

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Most of you would be familiar with the protests going on in Bangkok, which have recently claimed lives due to clashes between the protesters and the authorities. The Fine Arts Department also report that museum visitorships have suffered greatly because of the protests, as the majority of the museums in Bangkok are located near the protest areas, and in some cases protesters have mistakenly stormed the museums!

Museums count conflict cost
Bangkok Post, 10 April 2010
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Exhibition on Dvaravati opens at the Bangkok National Museum

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A new exhibition opened last week at the Bangkok National Museum – Dvaravati Art: The Early Buddhist Art of Thailand puts together over a hundred artefacts collected from 12 museums showcasing this kingdom that ruled over central Thailand between the 6th and 11th century.

Mon-Dvaravati Sculpture of seated Buddha, c. 8th century. From the Nei Xue Tang Museum.

Ancient masterpieces
Bangkok Post, 13 August 2009
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Getting a feel for museums – literally!

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This is a great story about how museums can facilitate better access to the public – the National Museum of Bangkok is working with other volunteer groups to facilitate tours where blind visitors can actually touch and feel the exhibits.

I was at the Bangkok National Museum and they certainly have a wealth of exhibits on display, from prehistoric Thailand to royal regalia. It’s great to know that blind visitors can now get a feel of some of these exhibits and discover these treasures for themselves.

Reaching Out
Bangkok Post, 15 April 2008
Link in Bangkok Post is no longer available
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Brunei museums showcase collections in International Museum Day

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22 May 2007 (The Brunei Times) – Keeping with the International Museum Day season, the museums of Brunei have launched an exhibition showcasing the best of their collections.

Brunei joins drive to save heritage

IN RESPONSE to a global call to optimise the use of museum collections as educational tools on national heritage, the Brunei Museums Department has launched an exhibition to showcase part of their select collections, some of which have never been displayed before.

The Unique and Rare Collections exhibition was officiated by Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Dewa Major General (Rtd) Dato Seri Pahlawan Hj Mohammad Hj Daud yesterday at the launch of the International Museum Day 2007 celebrations held at the Brunei Museums in Jalan Kota Batu.

Since its establishment in 1965, the Museums Department has actively collected natural and cultural artifacts through trade, lending, excavations and expeditions. In 2006, its total collection amounted to about 673,000 artifacts, which are divided among several sections ethnography, archaeology, nature study, national archive, art gallery, maritime archaeology and library.

Read the full story here.

Related Books:
Museum Treasures of Southeast Asia by B. Campell

Muzium Negara renovation update

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09 August 2007 (New Straits Times) – Earlier this year, the national museum of Malaysia (Muzium Negara) announced that it was going through renovations. The NST posts an update on the renovations, with some completions to be done in time for the Malaysian independence day on August 31.

Muzium Negara aims for ‘class’ upgrade

With Visit Malaysia Year in full swing, one would expect the country’s main attractions to be operating at their best. Muzium Negara, however, is in the midst of renovations. It seems that the renovations are unavoidable as the National Museums Department does not want the museum to be perceived as a “third-class” establishment.

“Muzium Negara is the main museum of the country. This renovation is needed so that it will be on par with other museums in the world as well as be a model museum in Malaysia,” said the department’s deputy director-general Paiman Keromo.

The renovation started in June last year after the department received a RM20 million allocation under the Ninth Malaysia Plan.

External work to the museum, such as building a walkway around the museum, re-organising the external exhibits and building an outdoor stage, began two months ago.

“So far, the renovation is on schedule and it doesn’t interrupt the current exhibitions,” Paiman said.

Since the renovations started, the first floor containing Galleries C and D had been closed, while Galleries A and B on the ground floor are open to the public.

Galleries C and D used to showcase Malaysian flora and fauna.

These artifacts are in Muzium Negara’s repository and can be visited by the public by obtaining permission.

Sixty per cent of the renovations, including the external works, will be completed by Aug 18.

On the same day, Galleries C and D, which will feature events from the Malacca Sultanate until the country’s independence, will be reopened to the public.

“We will reopen the two galleries on Aug 18 as the 50th Merdeka celebrations will be launched the night before in Malacca,” said Paiman.

Read the full story on the Muzium Negara’s renovations.

Museum guidebooks featuring the Muzium Negara:
Museum Treasures of Southeast Asia by B. Campell
Museums Of Southeast Asia by I. Lenzi
Extraordinary Museums of Southeast Asia by K. Kelly

Features from Royal Crematorium divided, on display across country

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via The Nation, 07 June 2018:

The deconstruction of the King Rama IX’s Royal Crematorium is completed and the Culture Ministry’s Fine Arts Department has relocated some components for display at various palaces and museums around the country, Deputy Prime Minister Visanu Krua-ngam announced at Government House on Wednesday.

Source: Features from Royal Crematorium divided, on display across country – The Nation

[Job]: Collections Assistant (Asian Anthropology)

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Application deadline is 10 June 2018. Details and link below.

Collections Assistant (Asian Anthropology) (Fixed Term) in the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Cambridge.
The Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (MAA) is one of the nine University of Cambridge Museums and Botanic Garden (UCM). It is a sub-Department of the University Department of Social Anthropology and is a key resource for University teaching and research, particularly in collaboration with the Departments of Social Anthropology and Archaeology. Its world-class collections attract visiting researchers from all over the world and it maintains an active programme of temporary exhibitions and loans to major exhibitions within the UK and internationally. MAA’s collections are Designated for their national and international importance. For further information about the Museum’s staff, collections, and programmes, see www.maa.cam.ac.uk.

The Museum has embarked on a partnership with the Cambridge Rivers Project, aimed at researching and making accessible the extensive collections of artefacts from Asia for which it cares. Approximately 80,000 artefacts, 50,000 photographs and a rich documentary archive chart Cambridge’s role in archaeological and anthropological research across the continent, from the 1880s and through the twentieth century. The stories they contain are of importance to communities, scholars and publics worldwide as well as in Britain, illuminating the diversity of human experience and creativity, as well as complex shared histories of cross-cultural encounter that MAA is committed to telling. For more information on the Cambridge Rivers Project and its activities, see www.cambridgerivers.com

To support this project, MAA is seeking to appoint a full-time Collections Assistant (Asian Anthropology) for one year to work with Senior Curator for Anthropology Dr Mark Elliott, Collections Manager for Anthropology Rachel Hand, and researchers from the Cambridge Rivers Project to document, photograph and research collections from East, Southeast and South Asia, predominantly in the anthropology collections. The role will involve facilitating research access and supporting the work of the Cambridge Rivers Project, maintaining appropriate standards of documentation and collections care, and carrying out research to improve knowledge of the collections.

The successful candidate will have an understanding of and interest in museum collections with a background in Asian anthropology, archaeology or a related discipline, and demonstrated experience of object research. Knowledge of a relevant language is desirable. S/he will have very good IT skills including spreadsheets and basic word processing and experience with collections management systems. Excellent attention to detail and very good written and verbal communication skills are essential as well as excellent organisational skills and the ability to work independently and as part of a team.

Source: http://www.jobs.cam.ac.uk/job/17533/