11 July 2024

Christmas has come early for those who love to explore Thai museums but prefer not to have to brave the hot sun or be overly exposed to PM2.5 particulate air pollution. The Fine Arts Department is now staging its Night at the Museum event with visitors welcome to walk into the National Museum Bangkok at no charge.

The event is on between 4pm and 8pm this weekend (Dec 17 – 19) as well as next weekend (Dec 25 and 26).

“It is a gift form the Culture Ministry this festive season,” the department announced.

Normally, this museum in Bangkok’s Phra Nakhon district is open from 9am to 4pm only. Admission is Bt30 per Thai and Bt200 per foreigner. Without the special event, free admission would only be granted to children, university students, the elderly and members of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) and the International Council of Museums (ICOM).

A Peek into the National Museum Bangkok

Located inside what was once the Front Palace (Wang Na) or the residence of a viceroy, the National Museum Bangkok ranks among Southeast Asia’s biggest museums. Nighttime visitors will be able to pay respect to the country’s sacred Buddha image, Phra Buddha Sihing, and admire murals created during the early Rattanakosin era inside Phutthaisawan Throne Hall at this remarkable museum.

Also open at night is the Red House (Phra Tamnak Daeng) where an exhibition on Thai children’s way of life is on show. This exhibition displays Thai traditions related to birth, topknot cutting, and education. Also on shows are toys of Thailand’s first crown prince, Maha Vajirunhis, and the birth bed of Prince Sukhumbhand Paribatra, the grandfather of MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra. Visitors will also learn more about Thailand’s betel-chewing culture as they browse.

Nighttime visitors, moreover, will get the opportunity to explore various old architectural delights and antiques created by royal artisans inside the museum. Highlights include the Chinese-style pavilion – known as Keng Chin Nukij Ratchaborihan – where ancient murals were created by Chinese painters. This pavilion has just re-opened after being closed for nearly 20 years.

Featuring exquisite fine arts, royal chariots are also exhibited inside the National Museum Bangkok.

Better still, nighttime visitors can enjoy a guided tour. These start at 5pm, 5.30 pm and 6pm. Between 6pm and 7pm, the Office of the Music and Drama will stage both Thai and international music performances.

Night without COVID-19

Due to COVID-19 situation, only those who have already received two shots of vaccine will be granted entry to the National Museum Bangkok. Moreover, the museum promises to create a COVID-free environment. Its staff have undergone ATK testing every week and distancing, mask-wearing, hand washing and temperature-check rules are also enforced. In addition, the premises are frequently cleaned.

Visitors can therefore feel confident when browsing the treasures.

Another museum for the night

Between December 17 and 19, Museum Siam is also open at night. Located on Sanam Chai Road in Bangkok, it will welcome visitors from 5pm to 10pm.

Its Night at the Museum event is being held for the 11th time this year, with Museum Talk again the main highlight. This talk will bring visitors back to 1922, the year the museum  was built and reflect on what has happened over the past century. Admission is free.

Photo Courtesy of Fine Arts Department