National Museum of Bangkok
Published on: 16:55 21/03/2015
National Museum of Bangkok
History of museum
The Bangkok National Museum has a long established history. It includes the royal private collection of antiquities of King Mongkut. (King Rama IV, 1851 – 1868). The first public museum in Thailand was founded in 1874 by his son, King Chulalongkorn (King Rama V, 1868 – 1910). This was located in the compound of the Grand Palace.
In 1887 the contents of this museum were transferred by the royal command form the Grand Palace to the Palace of the Prince Successor (the second king). Originally, this Palace was built for the brother of King Rama the First (1781 – 1809). Following the royal tradition, King Rama I designated his younger brother to be the second in command of the armed forces and it was recognised that he was the probable successor to the throne .His palace was known as “Palace of the Front”
(Wang Na). The significance of this expression followed the Ayutthaya tradition whereby the palace of the prince successor was situated in front of the main entrance to the King’s palace in order to protect it. When the capital was moved from Thonburi to Bangkok in 1782, the Royal Palace was built with its main entrance facing north, and the “Palace of the Front” of the prince successor was then built to the north of it.
The palace of Wang Na was occupied by the prince successors for five reigns from King Rama I to V. In the reign of King Rama V (1868-1910), when the prince successor died, both the title and the position were abolished. Then the heir apparent
became known as the Crown Prince.
The palace of Wang Na originally occupied extensive grounds, comprising numerous groups of buildings including ceremonial halls, residential buildings, offices, elephant and horse stables, etc., which were enclosed within outer palace walls. When the position of the Wang Na was abolished, the outer walls and turrets of the palace were pulled down. The palace compound originally included the land now occupied by Thammasat University on the south and west, the College of Dramatic Arts College of Fine Art and the national theatre on the north, also the northern half of the Phramane Ground (Grand Park) and Na Phra That Road.
When the public museum was moved from the Grand Palace to the “Palace of Wang Na“, the museum at first occupied only three ceremonial buildings at the front. Shortly after King Rama VII or King Prajadhipok (1925-1934) succeeded his brother as King, he allowed the entirety of the residential quarters to be used as well and the museum was called the “Bangkok Museum” (1926). It was placed under the jurisdiction of the Royal institute of Literature, Archaeology, and Fine Art. Prince Damrong Rajanubhab, the president of the Royal institute, and the Secretary General, Professor George Coedes, reorganised and enlarged the museum from the basis to the present National Museum.
In an attempt to modernise the National Museum Bangkok, two double-storey buildings were constructed to the right and left of the old central palace group to provide a modern venue for presenting the sculptures of different period and art styles. The two new wings and the gallery of prehistory were opened by His Majesty the King on May 25, 1967. In commemoration of the Bangkok Bicentennial Cerebration the National Museum Bangkok, opened a new gallery of Thai History on April, 2006.
Wednesday – Sunday: 9.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m.
The Museum is closed on Song – Kran day (13 – 15 April) and New Year day.
The National Museum Bangkok
Na Phrathat Road, Phra Borommaharachawang Sub-district, Phra Nakhorn District,
Tel. +66 0 2224 1370
Fax +66 0 2224 9911
Curatorial Staff Section:
Tel. +66 0 224 1402, +66 0 2224 1333
Fax + 66 0 2224 1402, +66 0 2224 1404
To know more about The Bangkok National Museum, please click here.