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City Museum in Lamphun shows the ancient way of life

City Museum in Lamphun shows the ancient way of life

Muang Lamphun City Museum of Lamphun Municipality.

Preeyanoot Jittawong
A count all the museums in Northern Region; especially in Chiang Mai and the nearby provinces would reveal that there are simply hundreds of them. Mostly, their purpose is to be a depository for ancient artifacts and historical information to reveal times gone by to modern generations. Sometimes, the objects are old Thai currency or ancient property more than 1,000 years old, which give an insight of what life was like in times gone by.

Many brands of matches.

Recently, some groups of enthusiasts have come up with the great idea to collect artifacts older than 60 years which are in danger of vanishing from our lives; and have built a city museum in which to store and exhibit them. This museum is Anek Nawimul’s House Museum, located on Poland Canal, Phutthamonthol No.2. The museum exhibits old books, cameras, tin toys, etc. and takes the form of a small curio shop. This museum has received enthusiastic support and earned rave reviews from everyone who has visited. It is considered the most interesting city museum in Chiang Mai at this moment, as there is still no other museum, which seriously exhibits such a wide variety of interesting vintage objects.
In the Northern Region, but located just outside Chiang Mai, there is one other place which is very interesting and certainly worth a visit. This place is called “Muang Lamphun City Museum”, temporarily located at Sam Thahan (Three soldiers) petrol station and is believed to be the last one of its kind in Thailand.

Lighter’s filling gas.

Narenthr Phanyaphoo, who collects ancient properties and is the person who campaigns on behalf of the Muang Lamphun City Museum project, said that this museum was a showcase of what the center of Lamphun’s trade area looked like 50 years ago. Nowadays, the shops that once sold produce in this thriving market town have vanished from our life owing to changes in modern living. It is very noticeable that the old-style single storey grocery stores, or what was called “Huean Pae” are rarely seen because there have been replaced by modern grocery stores like 7-Eleven.
Muang Lamphun City Museum affords us a glimpse of yesteryear by exhibiting properties such as “Areesawad” stationary shop, “Lamphun Osoth” pharmacy, “Tiao Phairat” grocery store, “Kankraithong” barber, “Ko-ehng” cafeteria and “Jek Kao” photo shop. There is also a simulation of an old-style theater called “Hariphunchai Drama” which was a popular feature of Lamphun 50 years ago. These shops are faithful reconstructions of the shops in “Huean Pae” style on Yongyos Road and Wang Sai Road.


Narenthr also said that he got the idea of a city museum from a photo exhibition of pictures of old shops in Lamphun, becoming even more inspired after visiting Anek Nawigmul’s House Museum in Chiang Mai. He, too, thought about the many small local museums with a collection of objects, which, by themselves, are not sufficiently interesting to stimulate visitors. He decided to bring them under one roof and make this city museum.
Muang Lamphun City Museum is a fine example of a contemporary museum that offers an authentic picture of life as it used to be 50 years ago. This museum provides the perfect choice for those people who like to visit museums. Importantly, it does not need to pay for guides; instead, parents and grandparents can explain the past stories to their children who visit this museum.
Narenthr also said that this museum will never become jaded because there is a different contemporary exhibition each month; such as a bicycle exhibition, a clock exhibition, a turntable exhibition and a photo exhibition. There is also old-style movies; such as Inseethong (Golden Eagle), Yak Wat Jaeng (Giant at Temple of Dawn), Hanuman, Ultraman, etc. There are also contemporary products exhibited in the museum; such as Cat-brand chewing gum, marbles, tops and scientific balloons.
Lamphun Municipality supports Muang Lamphun City Museum. In the future, the municipality will use a larger building known as Khum Ton Kaew, owned by Chao Ratchasamphanthawong (Chao Phuthawong Na Chiang Mai), and built in the reign of King Rama VI. The municipality rents this building from Lamphun Chinese Association and in the future, Lamphun will become the center of museum tourism. Those who are interested in visiting the museum or wish to contribute old objects can visit at Sam Thahan petrol station, Lee Gate Junction, Tel. 0-4611-2500.

Old-style objects used in daily life.

Women’s make-up.