Fine Arts Department reopens sites for history buffs

The Royal Barges National Museum presents an exhibition of eight royal barges that carried the Chakri kings and royal family members. (Photo by Apichart Jinakul)

Following the easing of pandemic control measures, all learning centres, museums, historical parks, libraries and archives under the operation of the Fine Arts Department have reopened their doors to welcome guests.

Bangkokians can now check out a list of interesting museums to enjoy a day trip without having to leave town. Established in 1934 and located on land which was once the Front Palace, the National Museum Bangkok takes visitors back to several periods of Siam through a rare collection of artefacts that reflect unique Thai culture and first-class craftsmanship.

At the Sivamok Phiman Throne Hall, visitors can learn about the origins of our ancestors and significant historical events ranging from the Sukhothai, Ayutthaya and Thon Buri kingdoms to the reign of the Rattanakosin period. Inside, there's also a display of elaborate handicrafts, traditional musical instruments, ceramics, ancient clothing and textiles, woodcarving, regalia and weapons.

The buildings of Mahasurasihanart and Prapas Phipithaphan showcase the history of Thai arts, dating back to the Dvaravati, Srivijaya, Lopburi, Sukhothai, Lanna, Ayutthaya and early Rattanakosin periods.

A rare collection of royal chariots at the National Museum Bangkok. Photo: Chanat Katanyu

A perfect option for those wanting to arrange a boat trip is the Royal Barges National Museum. Located at the mouth of the Bangkok Noi canal, the former Royal Barge Procession Dockyard was built during the reign of King Taksin and now boasts an exhibition of eight royal barges that carried the Chakri kings and royal family members.

The highlights include the beautiful Suphannahong barge, which was built during the reign of King Rama V and completed in 1911. Its gilded prow is designed to resemble a mythical swan and is graced with mirrored glass, while the hull is black on the outside and red on the inside.

The National Museum Bangkok showcases a wide range of artefacts from the Sukhothai to Rattanakosin periods. Photo: Apichart Jinakul

The newcomer to the fleet is the Narai Song Suban HM King Rama IX Royal Barge, which was built in 1996 to mark the 50th anniversary of King Bhumibol Adulyadej's accession to the throne. The gold lacquer-coated prow is like an avatar of the four-headed God Vishnu riding the Garuda.

To prevent a second wave of Covid-19 infections, all visitors are required to keep physical distance, wear face masks and scan a QR code to enter and leave on the Thai Chana platform, while the centres will provide fever checks and hand sanitisers.

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