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Folk Museum Chaiya

The Folk Museum is easily overlooked in Chaiya as it is situated in the same compound of Wat Boromathat. 
This lovely little museum is tucked away in the most distant corner in the southwest of the large temple premises. 
It is not always open, so you have to find a monk whom you can tell that you want to see the museum.
When you are lucky, you may be guided by the head monk who enjoys the exhibits very much himself.
Both museums are well worth a visit
Folk Museum Chaiya - Attractions
Folk Museum Chaiya (Folk Museum Chaiya) (Chaiya)

The Folk Museum of Chaiya is a collection of items by the abbot of Wat Boromathat.

The collectibles are mainly from agricultural use and from the home within the last 50 years. The abbot enjoys showing and demonstrating the various items to the rare visitor.

The Folk Museum is situated in a building at the far end of the temple complex on the right.

The Folk Museum is situated in a building at the far end of the temple complex on the right.

National Museum Chaiya *** (Chaiya National Museum) (Chaiya)

The National Museum Chaiya was the first one established in this region after many museums had already been in operation in the central part of the country. The idea of gathering and collecting regional heritage had reached the community and many artifacts had been gathered by the local people, including monks.

Due to the fact that most Thais are Buddhist, they often make merit by presenting offerings to monks. These offerings are often ancient items and became another way of gathering objects to make a cultural inheritance. Utensils for a monk’s livelihood were often made as beautifully as art pieces. With an aesthetic appreciation of these artifacts, monks had been drawn to the idea of collecting for the public heritage. Since these artifacts were products by local craftsman they will mostly reflect the local cultural identity.

The National Museum Chaiya is situated in the compound of Wat Phra Boromathat Chaiya in Surat Thani Province. It is a museum descended from the private museum of Phra Khru Sophon Chetsikaram (Iam), a previous abbot and also an earlier chief monk of the district. He started his collection from gathering all of the objects being offered to him; he integrated it with artifacts found in the area. Later, he put them on display not only for local admiration, but also to give the public an awareness and have them take pride in their local culture.

After the opening of his museum, in 1905, one of the most beautiful sculptures, that of the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara was found in the area of Wat Phra Boromathat Chaiya. The sculpture was categorized in the Srivijaya style, which was an art style that flourished in the southern region during the 9th centuries A.D. The style was coherent with to an architecture sited at the temple, which led to the assumption that this area must have been an important site of an earlier Srivijaya kingdom. This hypothesis widened the interest in collecting ancient objects in the area. The Fine Arts Department, as a consequence, stepped into the search for archaeological works in the area, and adopted the abbot’s private museum and integrated the collections to become the National Museum Chaiya, in 1935.

However, even after it became a museum under the Fine Arts authority, every abbot has always given his support for the growth of the museum. In 1950, Phra Khru Indhara Panyajan was the main supporter for the museum to have its own building. After the completion of the new building, the collection was moved there to show it in a better presentation. In 1956, the Fine Arts Department applied a uniform art and archaeology standard to all museums. It built a new building annexed to the old one to include the many finds that had been received from archaeological work in the region.

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