The MUSE pass is back! This 199-baht pass offers access to 32 museums in Thailand (last year it was only 20!). Available from participating museums, passes are sold until 31 October; they are good until 31 December 2015. Below are some of our favourite family-friendly museums covered in this promotion.
Museum Siam is wonderful for children of all ages. Spread on three floors of a beautiful building that used to house the Commerce Ministry, the museum features hands-on exhibits that encourage kids to explore Thai culture and history. Highlights include an ancient battle game, a room full of traditional Thai toys and a mock archaeological dig site.
Rattanakosin Exhibition Hall showcases Thailand’s artistic and cultural legacies of the Rattanakosin era through interactive exhibits arranged as two separate tours (each are about two hours long). Children will especially enjoy playing with hand puppets, learning khon (Thai masked dance) gestures and watching the vintage photography exhibit. On the fourth floor of the building, visitors can admire magnificent views of old Bangkok, including Loha Prasat.
NSM Science Square is a small museum in Chamchuri Square that is well worth a visit. Highlights include simple hands-on science exhibits, a skeleton and fossil exhibit and an area for younger children to play with various educational toys. Older kids can experience a pitch-dark world in the ‘Dialogue in the Dark’ exhibit, learning how to navigate using walking sticks and gaining insight into the challenges of being blind.
National Science Museum, located in Pathum Thani, features three distinctive buildings comprised of cubes balancing on their points. Here, families can spend the day learning about the science behind electricity, heat, magnetism, light, sound, energy and more. There are also a couple of floors dedicated to Thailand, including its geography, geology and ecology, as well as a Thai Art and Craft Centre.
Natural History Museum is located in the same compound as the National Science Museum in Pathum Thani. Exhibits introduce the evolution of life through four time eras and showcase the diversity of living things, from single cell organisms to members of the animal kingdom. Children will get a thrill from the life-sized dinosaur models, as well as the taxidermic models of Thailand’s indigenous animal species.
Batcat Toy Museum, in the Huamark area of Bangkok, houses one of Asia’s largest toy and superhero memorabilia collections. There is a strong emphasis on Batman, with the largest private collection ever put on display. The museum has amassed over 50,000 pieces including toys, magazines, games, costumes and more dating back to the 1960s. The nostalgic charm is endearing, perfect for a family friendly day out.
The Siam Insect Zoo in Mae Rim, Chiang Mai, features inhabitants that might make your skin crawl, but it offers a fascinating (and very close) look at a variety of insects, including moths, butterflies, stick insects, beetles and scorpions. Explore a small butterfly enclosure and watch cocoons hatch, dig for squirmy beetle larvae, and check out exhibits featuring thousands of pinned insects.
National Aviation Museum of the Royal Thai Airforce collects, restores and preserves defence articles of different periods, including equipment and aircraft in use during the early period of Thai aviation history up to the present. Located behind the domestic terminal of Don Mueang Airport, the museum is modest in size but boasts some rare aircrafts, including some that are the very last in existence worldwide.
Other museums covered by the MUSE pass, which may be of interest to teens and adults, in Bangkok and its vicinity, include:
- Bangkok Folk Museum, displaying artefacts reflecting an upper class Bangkok lifestyle during the pre- and post-World War II periods
- Department of Lands Museum, showcasing the history of mapping and division of land parcels
- King Prajadhipok Museum, commemorating the life of King Rama VII
- Krungthai Art Gallery, showcasing Krungthai Bank’s small contemporary art collection
- NSM Information Technology Museum, documenting the evolution of information technology
- Phra Maha Mondop Wat Trimit Wittayaram Museum, telling the story of Chinese settlement in Bangkok during the reigns of Kings Rama I to III, in the context of their Buddhist faith
- Phya Thai Palace, offering genteel, old world charm
- Police Museum, exhibiting the history of the Thai police since the 16th century
- Ratchadamnoen Contemporary Art Center, showing local and international works of contemporary art in various mediums
- SACICT Gallery, spotlighting the exquisite arts and craft designs supported by Her Majesty Queen Sirikit
- Sam Sen Nai Philatelic Museum, appealing to stamp collectors everywhere
- Siriraj Medical Museum, exploring the world of parasites, pathology, forensics and anatomy (Note: some exhibits, including mummified human remains and preserved conjoined twins, will be too scary for young children)
- Silapa Rattanakosin Resource Center, focusing on changes in Thai culture
- Thai Film Archive, preserving Thai film history
- Thai PBS Museum, displaying a range of media-related exhibits
- Thai Waterworks Discovery Museum, teaching visitors about managing and conserving local water resources
- The Queen’s Gallery, showcasing the work of Thai national artists, among others
And in other cities:
- Khonkaen Philatelic Museum (Khonkaen), displaying items and exhibits related to postal communications in Thailand
- King Rama II Memorial Park (Samut Songkram), commemorating the king’s patronage of the arts and culture
- Phuket Taihua Museum (Phuket), documenting Phuket’s history through different angles, including the Phuket-China connection
- Sgt. Maj. Thawee Folk Museum (Pitsanulok), conveying local knowledge and lifestyle of Thais from past to present
- Southeast Asian Ceramics Museum (Pathum Thani), displaying the history of Thai ceramics from all eras
- Sup-jumpa Museum (Lopburi), showing pre-historic artefacts from the city of Sup-jumpa
- Tanland (Ayuthaya), aka Ichitan Museum, showcasing an eco-friendly living concept, inspired by the floods of 2011 and Ichitan founder Tan Passakornatee’s passion for sustainability