14 fun-filled highlights expected to attract more than 500,000 visitors in 2018
The newly revamped Museum Siam is hosting its new permanent exhibition, Decoding Thainess, which features 14 exhibition zones that leads to exploring all aspects of Thainess and its constant evolution from the past to present. Encompassing historical, architectural, traditional, culinary and clothing perspectives among others, the exhibition is impressively presented by using advanced technology and unconventional storytelling method that suit today’s needs of people and their media consumption behaviors. It also encourages visitors to think further and concentrates on making more active interactions with visitors in order that they can enjoy and be amazed by the whole spectrum from the beginning to the end of the exhibition.
According to Rames Promyen, Director General of National Discovery Museum Institute (NDMI), also known as Museum Siam, the previous permanent exhibition was closed since early 2016 before starting to develop the new exhibition entitled Decoding Thainess which took more than 18 months to complete. He said, “The statistics including the demographic data of visitors as well as their opinions and research studies on media consumption behaviors have been incorporated into the way we develop exhibition contents and design patterns of communication within the museum to better meet the needs of younger generations. We believe Decoding Thainess, which is wholly developed by a dedicated team of Thai exhibition curators and designers, will change the public perception of boring and monotonous museum visits while providing everyone with more interesting sources of knowledge and joyful experience. We are also certain that this exhibition will become a popular museum destination local and international visitors can’t miss.”
“The exhibition explores the true meaning of Thainess through advanced and more interesting storytelling techniques in diverse aspects including history, architecture, custom and tradition, culinary and clothing for instance. It also illustrates the evolution of being Thai in social contexts from the early Rattanakosin period to the present by telling stories about the development of Thainess through the use of familiar and sophisticated museum presentation techniques available today, thus encouraging visitors to think further ahead by capturing stories of the past. Innovative patterns of presentation that enhance interactions with visitors also allow them to immerse themselves to the exhibition and better understand the contents of the exhibition. This provides them with an unconventional museum experience that gives both knowledge and enjoyment,” said Rames.
Amenities at Museum Siam such as exhibition space, elevators and lavatories have also been improved and refurbished to serve more visitors. The audio guide system is now available in 5 languages including Thai, English, German, Chinese and Japanese, and has some useful features to assist visual impaired persons and foreign visitors. The exhibition is also designed to serve people with disabilities with user-friendly elevators. In addition to exhibition space, inside Museum Siam houses a souvenir shop (MUSE SHOP) as well as food and coffee corners (MUSE KITCHEN and MUSE CAFÉ), which has been fully operational.
“Museum Siam expects to welcome more than 30,000 visitors by the end of 2017 and more than 500,000 visitors in 2018,” concluded Rames.
“With limitations of organizing and designing exhibitions, especially in terms of content and technology which have become outdated and changing media consumption behaviors, our main challenge in creating the new exhibition for Museum Siam is to deliver more sophisticated exhibition contents and make sure these meet the needs of visitors,” said Poraminthra Krouethong, an adviser of National Discovery Museum Institute (Museum Siam) who also led the exhibition’s development team. “From this outset, we have developed a new permanent exhibition, Decoding Thainess, with contents that have been adapted to be in line with today’s social context. We can remove some parts of the contents and add interesting ones, which allow visitors to find new stories and exhibits every time they visit the exhibition. Besides, we are able to adjust presentation techniques to suit today’s environment in which people have less time for reading. For this reason, we have shifted from written presentations and exhibition boards to other forms such as visual presentations, games, augmented reality, 3D laser cut and hydraulic modules (for the first time in Thailand).
He continued, “The Decoding Thainess exhibition is different from others. It has been designed to be unique in terms of content development and storytelling through the use of modern museum media we are familiar with and can be commonly seen today. It inspires visitors to think further and connect themselves with the past. Interactive presentations at the exhibition also encourage visitors’ deeper immersion in activities and as a result create better understanding as well as an unusual museum experience with a perfect combination of knowledge sharing and fun.”
The Decoding Thainess exhibition features 14 exhibition rooms:
– Is this Thai? – This room presents questions and controversial cases related to Thainess like Lady Gaga wearing a traditional Thai headdress, Miss Universe national costume and foreign look actors/actresses acting in Thai dramas. It provokes questions about Thainess around us in this changing world. In fact, what is Thainess?
– Defining Thainess – This room houses display windows and drawers in which a collection of exhibits symbolizes Thainess in each period. Visitors can discover and learn Thainess through these exhibits that reflect the Thai identity today.
– Birth of Thainess – This illustrates the evolution of Thainess through historical situations and exhibits that symbolize Thainess in nine periods. It is for the first time in Thailand to use hydraulic modules, audio descriptions and graphical presentations in an exhibition.
– Thailand’s Three Pillars – This presents the core concept of Thailand’s three deeply-rooted institutions: the nation, religion and king, which collectively reflect the expression of Thainess. By using AR specially designed like a jigsaw, visitors are allow to assemble cubic parts on the table at the center of the room and view pictures related to the nation, religions and the monarchy on the screen.
– Magnificently Thai – This replicates the atmosphere of staterooms and throne halls that conveys aesthetics and the valuable beauty of Thai architecture and fine arts. The exhibits also communicate the meaning, faith and belief (generally rooted from Hinduism and Buddhism) towards the monarchy which is closest to the heart of Thai people.
– Degrees of Thainess – This room presents Thainess through Thai costumes. Cloth dolls wearing Thai clothes in a variety of styles are located on a spiral-shaped platform, staring from Khon costumes, to show the status and degrees of Thainess.
– Only in Thailand – This room features a collection of familiar housewares and tools in daily lives, which instantly suggest Thainess. These include, for example, Thai seasoning storage set, plastic bag with rubber handle for containing ice coffee, brand-name bags with crochet handles and instant noodle with a variety of flavors. More highlights include a 4-meter high statue of Nang Kwak (a spirit or household divinity of Thai folklore deemed to bring good fortune, prosperity, attract customers to a business). These demonstrate the creative personality of Thais who are very good at adapting and improving things for everyday use, convenience and suitability to situations.
– International Thai – This room presents points of view towards many Thai things which might be different in the eyes of Thai people and foreigners. Things to consider include, for instance, the Royal Barge Suphannahong vs ordinary long-tail boats, carved fruits vs fruits from street hawkers, and royal court cuisine vs street food. It reflects points of view about Thainess: what we want others to perceive in comparison with what other people think about us.
– Lesson in Thainess – This section replicates classroom atmospheres from four different periods, including the early days of democracy, the 2500 BE era, the globalized Thailand era and the Sufficiency Economy era. This shows the way we instill Thai nationalism through classroom lessons, with contents in each period contains different economic, political and social contexts which were integrated into the education system, classroom lessons and music in each period.
– Taste of Thai – This is a live demonstration of Thai kitchen from which visitors can learn more about the origin of famous Thai recipes like Tom Yum Kung, Som Tum and Pad Thai for instance. QR scanning technology is used in combination with vibrantly colorful motion graphics as well as dish-shaped leaflets featuring knowledge about these recipes. A graphical board encourages visitors to ask questions about Thai recipes that have foreign names such as Kanom Chin, American Fried Rice and Kanom Tokyo.
– Thainess, Borrowed – This room shows off the evolution of Thainess, which has been influenced by other cultures. Examples of these include architectural wonder of the pagoda at Wat Arun (Temple of the Dawn), Thai alphabets and Tuk Tuk. These are presented through pictures (3D laser cut, Zoetrope and flip books) that make visitors better understand.
– Thai Beliefs – A collection of more than 108 artifacts in this room illustrates sets of beliefs in Thailand covering different beliefs in ghosts, Buddhism, Hinduism and other traditional and commonly found beliefs, which influence the way Thais live their lives. There are workshops that allow visitors to do an experiment on these beliefs such as fortunetelling and future prediction in various forms.
– Thai Traditions – This show is designed like a warehouse presenting stories about Thai traditions, festivals and manners, which clearly represent Thainess. They are packed in boxes in which provide detailed descriptions and pictorial illustrations that visitors can touch and play with. Fun games are also available to create better understanding.
– Thai Studio – This photo studio communicates the importance of pictures that act as a vivid evidence of Thainess. This can be the best way for us to know more about people and their living environment in each period. Visitors can choose from a variety of costumes, backgrounds and decorative items and take some memorable pictures as they like.
The Decoding Thainess exhibition now opens to the public on Tuesday – Sunday (closed on Monday), 10 A.M. – 6 P.M., at Museum Siam, Tha Tien, Bangkok. All asset including related document and photos of this exhibition can be reached via