Reconsidering the ‘Museum Effect’ in Modern Thai Buddhism and Art

Justin T. McDaniel




Modern Thailand is a land of museums. There are museums of Medical Oddities (Sirirat Hospital in Thonburi), Prisons (Mahachai Street in Bangkok), History of Asylums and Mental Health Museum in Thonburi), the House Museums in Nan, Pichit, Trang, and other provinces, and many others. This article will look at a variety of religious museums in Thailand such as the museums founded by Lek Wiriyabun and small monastic museums. Although many post-modern theorists and post-colonial historians have seen museums as tools of the state or royalty, these religious museums are independent and idiosyncratic. Instead of enforcing a singleideal of Buddhism in Thailand or supporting any normative notion of Nationalist history, they expand the way we think about Thai Buddhism and further dissociate it from the "Theravada" or even the "Thai."


(Published in Rian Thai: International Journal of Thai Studies, Volume 1/2008, Page 53-69)

Full Text : Download