23 July 2007

Lao National Museum

I thought this museum was quite good. The prehistory section contains artifacts such as pots, drums and tools. They also talk about what happened between the 14th and 18th centuries. Laos was known as Lan Xang, meaning a million elephants. It was much bigger than the present day Laos covering much of today’s northern and north-eastern Thailand region.

The modern history section talks mostly of the Laos battling against the ‘US imperialists’ back in the 1970s. There are heaps of guns are on display in this section- ‘This machine gun shot down this helicopter…’, ‘these are the guns the Americans used…’

The most odd thing about the museum was the display from the Lao Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. They had a bunch of drugs they claimed they had confiscated. There were some crumbled tablets they said they said was amphetamines. There was a bag of leafy green material they labeled as marijuana. They had a couple of wrapped up bricks they said was heroin and opium. Surely it wouldn’t be real- but in this country I cannot be sure. Another funny thing was a cabinet of gold and silver buddhas with a sign that read ‘From the 14th to 18th century found in 1998 at the University of Laos

I learnt that today in Laos, there is not much left of the past. Say in Vientiane, all the temples were destroyed by the Siamese a few centuries ago and there is only one old one left that the Siamese used as their headquarters.

Definitely not as polished as other museums I have been to, but they do have some interesting facts and photographs. Some displays look like something that I did in year 4, but that’s ok. It is also interesting to see the way they present their history- not as much propaganda as I thought it would be.

This is located on Samsenthai Rd opposite the Cultural Hall and entry is 10,000 kip. It will take about an hour to see everything.

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