Museums

Chiang Mai National Museum

Devoted to the natural history, archaeology, prehistory and history of Chiang Mai and the Upper North, and with extensive displays of art and culture of the Lanna kingdom and Burmese era, the museum is both a visitor attraction and a research institution. Standing in extensive grounds, the museum buildings are designed with the distinctive Northern kalae, or roof gables. Divided into several sections, the museum is easy to navigate, and a virtual tour is also available.

Chiang Mai City Arts & Cultural Centre

Located in the old city centre, close to Wat Phra Singh, the museum building is a century old and was once Chiang Mai’s central administrative office. Its conversion into a museum received an award in 1999 from the Royal Society of Siamese Architects. Through fifteen halls, the museum displays the history of Chiang Mai and the cultural identity of its people through multimedia presentations, with an outdoor courtyard for live performances.

Lanna Folklife Museum

Housed in what had been the provincial courthouse, dating from 1934, the museum is dedicated to the art, ceremonial utensils, handicrafts, sculptures, ceramics and paintings of the Lanna culture. Lanna dance forms, dress, musical instruments, murals, artefacts such as ceremonial wooden betel sets and woven basketry, and the symbolism of different elements of Lanna temples, all reveal a studied portrait of what life was like for ordinary people over the centuries.

Lanna Traditional House

This open-air museum, set in its own tree-shaded grounds, is a collection of eight traditional houses and four granaries that have been received through donations and purchases and which reveal different styles and features of the region. Demonstrations are conducted of local handicrafts such as fabric dyeing, hand-weaving, silversmithing, perforating cloth, and mulberry paper making. The museum is a part of the Centre for the Promotion of Arts and Culture, at Chiang Mai University.

MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum

Housed in a big old converted warehouse, the shining facade and coolly stylish interior are an appropriate setting for displaying the works of local artists and contemporary masters. A mix of rotating and permanent exhibitions are housed here. Located in the Sankampaeng district, the museum is a short drive to the east of Chiang Mai city centre and close to the famous Bo Sang umbrella-making centre, and the two can comfortably be visited on the same day.

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