The primary mission of Kamthieng House Museum is to showcase the traditional spirit and belief systems of the Lanna people, within the context of a 19th-century northern Thai house. The educational aim of the exhibits is to provide an exposition of the motivating beliefs and ideologies in the practice of Lanna lifestyle, especially in terms of its relationship with nature and the environment. Elements of lifestyle, ritual, art and architecture are presented within the Lanna world-view, through objects, graphic illustrations, photographs, video and sound.

Visitors hear "joi" and "pin-pia" courtship music as soon as they approach the verandah, at the beginning of the house tour. In the kitchen, visitors can view a short film loop in which Mae Champa, a northern grandmother in period costume, cooks a meal of "kaeng khae kob" (northern frog curry) in the very kitchen visitors are standing in. Granary visitors are enveloped by ritual chants performed by "Pho-nan" Praphat, one of the few remaining northern ritual masters, calling the spirit of rice and buffalo. Get to see how a traditional Lanna house is built.

This house was originally built in 1848 by Mae Saed, great-granddaughter of a Prince of Mueang Chae, on the banks of the Ping River in Chiang Mai Province, the ensemble encapsulates key elements of the traditional Lan Na culture and lifestyle. Passed down through the women of a Lan Na matrilineal clan, the Kamthieng House is one of the finest examples of period architecture. Given to the Siam Society under Royal Patronage in 1963 by Nang Kimhew Nimmanhaeminda, a descendant of the original owner, and relocated to the premises of the Siam Society, the Kamthieng House was inaugurated as an ethnological Lan Na Thai museum by His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, on 21st November 1966. Daily life in a Lan Na Thai household followed a meticulous etiquette of relationships between residents, spirits and places, as well as an exacting code of personal conduct. Natural forces, visible and invisible, were accorded respect, ancestors were honoured, spirits venerated, and the collective memory treasured. Exhibits of indigenous crafts, once daily necessities, and ritual tools offer a glimpse of a residence of nobility, spanning about one century between the lifetime of Mae Saed and her granddaughter, Mae Kamthieng, after whom the residence, now Kamthieng House Museum, is named. The present redesign, begun in March 2001, returns the focus to life in and around a traditional Lanna house of the late 19th-century. In keeping with traditional Lanna house rituals, especially before major construction work, a ritual specialist was also engaged, to perform the relevant rites, as well as oversee the restoration of the house shrine.

   
   

LocationKamthieng House Museum
Located in the Siam Society on Sukhumvit Road Soi 21 (Asok), 131 Asok Montri Road (Sukhumvit 21), Bangkok 10110, Thailand.

You can get there by taking the BTS Skytrain to Asok Station or Subway to Sukhumvit Station and is just a short walk from either of these stations. Two minutes walk from Sukhumvit subway station (exit 1) and five minutes walk from Asok skytrain station (exit 3).

Operating hours: Tuesday to Saturday from 9 am to 5 pm (except holidays).

Admission: Adult 100 baht.

Telephone: +66 (0) 2661 6470-7
Website: http://www.siam-society.org/facilities/kamthieng.html

Information correct as of February 2011.