History & Culture

Nan National Museum

Nan National Museum is a museum located at Pha Kong in Nan Town Municipality which is near Wat Phumin. The Nan National Museum is in the origin palace of the last two feudal lords of Nan. The building was originally constructed in 1903 by Phra Chao Suriyapnong Phalidet, the penultimate lord of Nan to replace his former wooden residence. After the death of the Chao Maha Brahma Surathada, the last lord of Nan, his heirs donated this palace to the government in 1931 in order to be used as the provincial hall.

The ground level is divided into six exhibition rooms with ethnological exhibits dealing with the various ethnic groups in the province, including the northern Thais, Thai Lue, Htin, Khamu, Mabri, Hmong, and Mien. Silverwork, textiles, folk utensils, and tribal costumes can be found on display. Exhibits on Nan history, archaeology, local architecture, royal regalia, weapons, ceramics, and religious art are shown on the second floor, divided into two sections. The first is the main hall which used to be the throne hall of the feudal lord. The second consists of the rooms in the north and south wings. The museum exhibits a wide collection of Buddha images which include some rare Lanna styles as well as the floppy-eared local styles. Usually made from wood, these standing images are in the Rain Calling posture (with hands at the sides, pointing down), showing the obvious Luang Prabang influence.

Also on display on the 2nd floor is a rare black (in fact reddish-brown) elephant tusk said to have been offered to a Nan king over 300 years ago by the Khün lord of Chiang Tung (Kengtung). Held aloft by a wooden Garuda(mythical bird) sculpture, the tusk measures 97 cm long and 47 cm in circumference.

Details: Admission is 20 baht for Thai citizens and 100 baht for foreigners.

The Nan National Museum is opened for public every Wednesday - Sunday, 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

How to get there: The Nan National Museum is situated on route 101. Before entering the town turn left to go to the museums.