Life on Memory Lane

The House of Museums in Bangkok’s Thawi Watthana district is one of the best places to soak up a nostalgic atmosphere

published : 11 Feb 2021 at 04:00

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Although each of the everyday items on display at the House of Museums may not have much to say about themselves, they seem to possess the power to make viewers recall many personal stories from yesteryear.

Have you ever stumbled upon a long-lost object that suddenly brought back forgotten moments, maybe a childhood toy or a postcard from someone special? What if you find yourself in a place full of such items? I don’t know about you but the other day when I made my very first visit to the House of Museums I was bombarded by constant flashbacks.

The private museum is full of memory-evoking stuff. Among them were vintage TVs that reminded me of how children in my old neighbourhood off South Sathon Road would gather at my grandmother’s house on Saturday and Sunday mornings to watch our favourite cartoons and Japanese superhero series. Back then not everybody owned the device, and children, at least in that part of Bangkok, were allowed to run in and out of friends’ homes at will. I also remember when we had to randomly move the TV antennae in an effort to improve picture quality.

Also coming to mind was a commercial for a brand of bottled soft drink that kids of my generation were not so fond of because every time it appeared it meant the programne has come to an end. Oh, and I still remember how excited I was when I watched a colour TV for the first time. Years later, I was also amazed by a new invention, the VHS player, which meant we could watch a movie anytime we wished.

Just the black and white TVs alone made me recall so many things. In the House of Museums, there are numerous other items that used to be a part of everyday life for people living in urban areas from the 50s to the 90s, from the packaging of soaps, shampoos, perfumes and various kinds of appliances and utensils to old pictures, stationery, books, old documents and a lot more. Some of these objects were of little value decades ago when they were common. But these days they are priceless to many people.

The House of Museums opened in 2002 with an aim to encourage the public to see the hidden value of everyday items. All staff members are volunteers. Most of the exhibits, and even the piece of land on which it is situated, are from donations. A big problem the museum has been facing the past several years is that there is not enough space to display its growing collections of donated and purchased artefacts that are now stored at different sites. A solution to the problem is to open a similar museum. For this purpose, a plot of land has been prepared in Ngui Rai of Nakhon Pathom’s Nakhon Chai Si district. However, funding is still needed to make it happen.

Let’s hope the project can be completed soon so that the stored items can be properly kept and numerous more memories will be relived.

The House of Museums is located on Sala Thammasop 3, Thawi Watthana district in western Bangkok. It is 13km, a short taxi ride, from the Lak Song MRT Station and merely 700m from Phutthamonthon Sai Song railway station.

The place is open only on Saturdays and Sundays, 10am-5pm. Tickets are priced at 40 baht for adults and 10 baht for high school and primary school students. Monks, people with disabilities, young children and the elderly (aged 65 up) can enter free of charge.

If you wish for more information or find out how you can contribute, visit the House of Museums page on Facebook.

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