King Prajadhipok Museum - August 24, 2004
Left: King Prajadhipok and Queen Rambai Barni
The King Prajadhipok Museum houses the fascinating life story of King Prajadhipok. The tale is told chronologically in exhibits that detail both his royal achievements and personal life. It is an attempt to position King Prajadhipok as a dynamic and vital leader who undertook public works and spearheaded the move to a constitution.
It is also a poignant human portrait of the last absolute monarch. King Prajadhipok's desk, office equipment, collection of novelty cigarette lighters, hand-crank tennis ball shooter, and personal photo albums are all on display. The visitor can imagine what it was like for the last Siamese absolute monarch and be exiled to a drafty English mansion.
This is not like the National Museum. It is a fully professional and modern museum with security cameras, modern fire extinguishing equipment, and lighting. The temporary exhibit on the ground floor is only in Thai, but the story of his life is presented in both Thai and English. No photography is allowed and unfortunately there is no museum catalog.
However, the collection of personal effects and official documents is stunning and illuminating. The wonderful memorabilia includes Milkmaid plates celebrating the first constitution day, elevation design drawings of Phra Buddha Yodfa Bridge, Sukothai Palace, and Krung Thai Theater, and printed menus from the King and Queen's housewarming party.
[2008 - All these links are broken. Does the museum have a website anymore?] The museum website is here (in English here). The history of the museum building itself is here. There is a strong dose of twentieth-century Thais history in the museum.