Thailand’s first world-class museum is to be built as part of the massive IconSiam development on the banks of the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok.
The Fine Arts Department of the Thai Ministry of Culture and IconSiam Co have signed a memorandum of understanding to mark their collaboration to preserve Thailand’s arts and cultural artifacts, to be displayed in the 8000 sqm IconSiam Heritage Museum.
The museum, which will open in 2018, is set to become a space where different cultures interact as well as a major tourist attraction, according to a statement from IconSiam.
“Local and foreign visitors will be able to witness the pride of Thailand and the elements that signify our national identity.”
More than 500 retailers will be housed in two shopping malls being built in the IconSiam development, which also includes a hotel and luxury apartment complex. The US$1.538 billion (54 billion THB) project is scheduled to open in late 2017.
The Fine Arts Department will be in charge of analysing, sourcing and preserving antiques and artifacts to be displayed in the National Heritage Gallery, one of the museum’s three exhibition spaces.
Vira Rojpojchanarat, Minister of Culture Ministry, described the collaboration as auspicious for the country.
“The private sector will officially play an important role in helping the government support, promote and showcase Thai culture. This answers directly to the government’s public-private collaboration policy. The museum will communicate with Thai values to both locals and tourists, driving forward our admirable culture and national identity. The project will also push our identity and the creative cultural industry to an international level.”
IconSiam director Chadatip Chutrakul said it is “the mission and ambition” of IconSiam to create a unique project that represents the admirable identity of Thailand from every aspect. “Our excellent indigenous wisdoms, intricate handicraft skills, architectural brilliance, our history, traditions, cultures etc, will be represented here.”
IconSiam will invest more than THB 500 million (US$14 million) in the museum. “This investment, although great in number, is not a move that seek profit in return. We hope that this museum initiative will inspire other organisations to see the value and importance of museum which is a significant symbol of the country’s economic and social advancement,” said Chutrakul.
Part of the museum’s earning from the National Heritage Gallery admission fee will be donated to the Archeology Foundation for future restorations of historical sites, artifacts and the National Museum.
The other two exhibition spaces will be a Temporary Exhibition Gallery featuring exhibitions from master artists and world class museums from all over the world, and the River Gallery, which will aim to present contemporary works from renowned local and international artists and host art related activities.
Lord Cultural Resources, a global professional practice dedicated to creating cultural capital worldwide which has worked on museums such as France’s The Louvre and Spain’s Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, is working with IconSiam on the project. The company also has experience working with Britain’s Tate Modern, The US’s Library of Congress’s security and filing systems as well as setting up exhibition models for Thailand Creative and Design Centre.