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Cultural Exhibition Hall of Chaiyaphum Province  
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Review of Cultural Exhibition Hall of Chaiyaphum Province
By: (1127) | Date: September 15, 2014

                   The initiation to found this museum was conceived in 2002, as it was a policy of the Ministry of Culture. However, no government budget was available. So raising fund for the project was necessary. In 2003, contributions of 1,000,000 baht from some wealthy Chaiyaphum people made it possible to have a room on the lower floor of the old provincial hall renovated and turned into an exhibition room. The artist who did the designing work was Ajarn Sa-nguan Paijaturat who previously had been with the SUPPORT Foundation. The room or the hall was ready and officially opened on 12 August 2004 – in honor of Her Majesty the Queen on her 72th birthday anniversary.
 
                   In the future this museum is likely to become the Chalermraj Cultural Center, according to a new policy issued by the Ministry of Culture, so as to commemorate the important royal visit to Chaiyaphum of Their Majesties the King and Queen on 3-4 November 1955. Some initial work already done included an exhibition in the hall entrance area. The exhibition is yet to be moved to a new location, now a library, and will be a permanent one on the royal activities in the province.
 
                   The museum founder and caretaker Dr. Sirikorn Kampalangrit explained that the museum was intended to be a center of knowledge on the province in a broad perspective. The displays therefore focus on the following:
 
                   Culture and tradition: a small model at the entrance tells about the Heet 12 Khong 14, an important tradition observed in each month of the year by the Isan people.
 
                   Local lifestyle: The simple way people live their lives is told via a model – a typical local house where common household activities are portrayed both in the main part of the house and the kitchen. In the latter, the displays are cooking utensils such as rice pots, a fire stove (over which are hung some crops and vegetables), and bamboo containers for sticky rice. Fishing activities are portrayed by means of traps and vessels for pickled fish, etc. More are fabric weaving utensils such as jaw for raising silk worms. The local scenes also include games played for fun such as the well-known traditional Isan polo-like game – the ti-khli fai. The equipment is shown – the clubs and balls made from hardwood such as kapok tree, coral tree and jackfruit tree. The area under the display house is used for weaving demonstrations, again via models. A model woman is working on her loom, while a little farther away a model man is making basketery things. In the main elevated house above, another model woman is doing the job of pulling off threads from silk worm cocoons. Weaving their own fabrics and making bamboo baskets and containers are 2 important household activities of local Chaiyaphum people. The Ban Kwao District particularly is famed for silk products. They manufacture both exquisite traditional patterns as well as more and more modern ones.
 
                   Chaiyaphum’s tourist attractions: Miniature attraction sites, natural and cultural ones, help promote the province’s tourist industry – Tat Ton Waterfall, Dok Krachiao Field (“dok krachiao” are native blossoms growing on a rocky terrain), Mor Hin Khao (5 natural stone pinacles, promoted as the Stonehenge of Thailand), Prang Ku (a Khmer sanctuary). The last attraction, explained the caretaker, is meant to remind the younger generation that Chaiyaphum is not a backward countryside; on the contrary, it had prospered since the time of King Jayavarman of the Khmer Empire. More famous tourist spots include the Bai Sema (temple boundary stones featuring Dvaravati art) of Ban Good Ngong, Phra Chao Ong Tue (carved stone Buddha image, showing Dvaravati influence), and the Tamarind Tree modeled after the real one in Pla Thao marsh. The marsh is where Chaiyaphum’s governor and local hero Phraya Lae is believed to have died. The site has become a sacred shrine which locals and tourists come to worship. A curious display in the museum is animal models of elephants and crocodiles, and some popular stories told locally about them. A whole herd of wild elephants is portrayed, because Chaiyaphum is home to wild ones which have big, tall and sleeky bodies, fit for beig good warrior animals. Thep Sathit District is the largest training center where elephants are bred and trained. Most mahouts here have Nyah Kur blood. (Nyah Kur are Mon descendants living in Phetchabun, Nakhon Ratchasima and Chaiyaphum.) There is also a model crocodile here. The crocodile was the pet of a monk at Wat Noan Daeng in Ban Khwao District. It was very famous some 20 years ago as it seemed to understand the human language. When called by its name by the monk, it would come up from the water. On Buddhist holy days it would also come up to lie in the sun with its mouth wide open.
 
                   Since the museum conception by the Ministry of Culture in 2002 until the time of its construction and completion, many things were possible with the help of some wealthy locals. Even now the needed repair work of the exhibition hall and its exhibits still depends on outsiders’ contributions. Water and electricity bills are big expenses too. Therefore the museum is not open everyday. The multi-media devices are another problem because there is no money available for the spare parts. The last problem is that other than Dr. Sirikorn there are no other museum guides or caretakers – again this is due to lack of fund.

Phiphat Krajaejan
Field work survey: September 13, 2013
Ref :  Interview: Dr. Sirikorn Kampalangrit of Chaiyaphum Cultural Office, on 13 September 2013 

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  Cultural Exhibition Hall of Chaiyaphum Province  
: Culture Center of Chaiyaphum Province, City Hall(old), Bannakan Rd., Mueang District, Chaiyaphum Province
: 044-812-984 (สำนักงานวัฒนธรรม)
081-874-6735 (ดร.สิริกร)
: -
: Please contact in advance
: free admission
: -
: -
: 2004
: -
Management : local administration
Story : local wisdom
Status : Open
Update Sep 8, 2014
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