Saturday, August 10, 2013

National Museum

After I left the palace, I made my way through the tuk tuk drivers and drink stands to the nearby national museum.  I was rather expecting a Louvre-like behemoth as the guidebook said it was the largest in southeast Asia, but it turned out to be a gated collection of several small to moderately sized buildings. Apparently there's not a lot of competition in the large museum category in this part of Asia. 
The first small building by the gate held a reasonably modern display giving an overview of Thai history, information that will be useful as I travel north to Sukhothai, the original Thai capital. 
When I stepped into the next building, I stepped into the 1960s. There was no air conditioning, so fans pushed the musty air around the high-ceiling rooms. Cabinets that seemed they ought to be covered in dust (but weren't) were crammed with collections of interesting items: Chinese puppets, crowns, Buddha figurines, swords, porcelain dishes.  One of the largest rooms had old pallets used for carrying members of the royal family in processions, in varying degrees of luxury. There weren't many explanatory signs; those that there were were mostly type-written, with a few even hand-written. 
I wandered around the central buildings for about an hour; there were more rooms in side buildings as well, but I had seen enough to get the idea. 


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