Not really sure how appropriate a ‘museum’ is when tens of thousands of the subject matter – i.
e. hill-tribe minorities - live in the hills outside town? Perhaps cultural centre of something would have been better and contents are mostly everyday objects and standard traditional dress that you can still see in many villages anyway. Explanations tend to be anecdotal; a particular festival or traditional religious belief of a certain ethnic group and there’s little or nothing in the way of actual ethnological, linguistic or historical detail on the various groups.
The thrown together, scrappy displays include a small exhibition of opium paraphernalia, far inferior to either Sob Ruak’s Hall, or House of Opium, and the lovingly maintained and displayed minority costumes at the Oub Kham Museum are far superior to these dusty exhibits.
Really this needs a serious make-over and is worth a peak only if you’re at a loose end but don’t go out of your way. The Hill Tribe Museum is funded by famed Thai philanthropist Meechai Viravaiydya’s excellent PDA, (Population and Community Development Association), and there’s a Cabbages and Condoms restaurant on the ground floor.
By Mark Ord.
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