A consideration of the efficacy of local museums: case studies from Northern kiln sites and the ceramic production island of Ko Kret in Thailand
(Waseda University )
Paper short abstract:
This paper presents preliminary results of research based on kiln sites in Northern Thailand and a traditional pottery production community in Central Thailand in order to examine the degree of resilience of local identities through the potential of local museums, crafts and tourism.
Paper long abstract:
In Southeast Asia, the return and role of the research materials and results to the local communities has also been a topic of substantial discussion. As a result, many archaeologists encounter a wide range of demands from national, regional and local levels, and may collaborate with the related organizations or communities concerned in order to develop local museums. Archaeologists tend to consider the establishment of local museums as the best way to achieve public outreach and to be optimistic about its efficacy to the local communities. However, this is only one side of many stories; surely others have different views, dynamics and even current trends become important factors. The reality is that in many cases the story of local museums seems to be swallowed by more powerful national narratives. This paper presents preliminary results of research based on kiln sites in Northern Thailand and a traditional pottery production community in Central Thailand. It compares the Ban Bo Suak kiln site, Nan province and Wiang Bua Kiln site, Phayao province in Northern Thailand with Ko Kret Island just outside Bangkok, which became very famous for the production of traditional Mon ceramics. The two kiln sites in northern Thailand were excavated by the Fine Arts Department and Silpakorn University and are recognized as two of the most representative examples of the practice of public archaeology in Thailand. By comparing the two studies, the paper shows the degree of resilience of local identities through the potential of local museums, crafts and tourism.
Local/global histories: the challenge of local museums