Contact: Next to Thammasat University Na Phrthat Rd., Phra BorommaharachawangSub-district, Phra Nakorn District,Bangkok 10200 Tel. 0 2224 1333, 0 2224 1370
Bangkok National Museum used to be the Front Palace of MahaSurasinghanat, which was built during the same time as the Grand Palace. It consists of many important Throne Hall buildings such as Siwamokhaphiman Hall, Buddhaisawan Chapel and Issarawinitchai Hall. Later in the reign of King Rama V, the King ordered to establish a national museum at SahathaiSamakom Pavilion and had it called “Museum.” The museum was later moved to the Front Palace. Some part of the area became Thammasart University with College of Fine Arts, College of Dramatic Arts and National Theatre, nearby.
Apart from the museum, another interesting attraction in the area of the Front Palace is WatBovornsathanSutthavas, a temple which is located near the College of Fine Arts.
Bangkok National Museum exhibits variety of art objects and ancient artifacts which are the cultural heritages of Thailand and nearby countries. Founded in 1859, it is the first public museum of Thailand that features exhibits of Thai history, art history, archeology and ethnology. Nowadays, the museum has been divided into four main sections. The first section located in the Siwamokhaphiman Hall. It is the exhibition on Thai History, displaying stories of the origin of Thai people and briefly presenting the history of the nation. The second section, located in MahaSurasinghanat Building and in Prapatpipittapan Hall, is the History of Art and Archaeology. It features the evolution of Thai art and archaeology in a chronological order. The next section is the Decorative Arts and Ethnology, which is displayed in the old central palace buildings. The collection contains a variety of ancient artifacts of daily utensils used in the past and delicately made art objects such as silver treasures, gold treasures, nielloware, pearl inlay, musical instruments, woodware, equipment used in performances, ancient costumes and textiles, ceramics, old weapons and old royal transportation. The last section is Ancient Monuments. They are an exhibit of ancient monuments that are both originally located in the Front Palace and moved from other palaces. They include Buddhaisawan Chapel, the Red House, IssaretrachaNusorn Hall, Sala Samrammukhamat, PathihanTassanai Hall and Sala Longsong. Apart from the collection of halls, the area also features ancient monuments such as Phra Buddha Sihing, Phra Chai, Buddha image in Tormenting MahisaraDeva posture and Buddha image inCreating the Footprint posture. Another interesting spot in the Front Palace is PhraRatchawangBowonSathanMongkhon’s shrine built by MahaSurasinghanat, a Vice King of Siam, in the reign of King Rama I, for the land spirits to live. They believed that the spirits were the owner of the land the palace was built on. Nowadays, the shrine is one of the revered spot of the Department of Fine Arts.
For those who are interested in visiting this Thai cultural heritage site, Bangkok National Museum opens Wednesday – Sunday, from 9.00 a.m. to 16.00 p.m. Entrance fee is 30 baht for Thais and 200 baht for foreigners. For more information, contact 02-224-1370 or 02-224-1333 or visit www.finearts.go.th