via Bangkok Post, 04 March 2018: Developing story over the last week, as residents from Phimai, Nakhon Ratchasima Province protest the planned action of the Fine Arts Department to declare the Phimai area as a historic site. The historic site designation will impose some restrictions such as prohibiting construction over two storeys tall, but some locals are reportedly afraid that they will be evicted. See other related stories in the links below.
NAKHON RATCHASIMA: Despite the Fine Arts Department’s move to declare a 2,600-rai area in Phimai Municipality a historic site, a large number of tourists were still visiting the Khmer temple ruins in the Phimai Historical Park in Phimai district on Sunday.
After being closed for three years for renovations that cost 34.8 million baht, the Nan National Museum has recently reopened — only to be greeted with trenchant criticism over the outcome of the refurbishment.
From afar, the iconic stupas of the Temple of Dawn stand elegantly on the bank of the Chao Phraya River. But looking closely at the finer details of the famous landmark, admirers may notice a thick coat of lime plaster that almost covers decorative ceramic tiles. At some spots, ceramics are attached untidily to the central stupa, suggesting sloppy repair work.
The restoration of Wat Arun, as the Temple of Dawn is known, has stirred a heated debate among conservationists, archaeologists, historians and admirers of the historical edifice. The Fine Arts Department, which oversees the restoration, insists that the work has been carried out according to scholastic standards and historical accuracy. However, critics find the work sub-par and poorly supervised, resulting in the diminished grandeur of a national heritage site.
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.
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.
At the request of Myanmar’s department of archaeology, Thailand will assist in the development and management of the Pyu Cities World Heritage Site, based on Thailand’s experience with Sukhothai and Ayutthaya.
The Thai Fine Arts Department intends to instate new measures, such as new protection statuses for sites and education programmes to help prevent the destruction of sites not yet on the heritage register.
No, not a reference to the recent floodinf of Ayutthaya, but to the shipwrecks of vessels carrying cargo from Ayutthaya now mainly resting in the Gulf of Siam. The Nation interviews Erbprem Vatcharangkul, director of the underwater archaeology division of the Thai Fine Arts Department.