thailand, thai house, tradition, denmark, museum, moesgaard

Living ethnography: Thai house restoration

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Asia, Europe

In 1975, a traditional Thai house was dismantled in northern Thailand and shipped to Denmark. It was assembled a few months later in surroundings quite different – but arguably just as beautiful – in close proximity to old Moesgaard Manor, where Moesgaard Museum is also located. A collaboration between the museum and the Department of Anthropology, Aarhus University, had induced several exhibitions and arrangements focusing on Thailand and Thai culture.

The traditional Thai house was identified and purchased with the help of Dr. Pensak Chagsuchinda, who has studied archaeology in Copenhagen, and who was married to a Danish ambassador.

The exotic Thai house has in a strange way grown to be an integral part of manor park with poplars, oak trees and white benches. No one seems to have questioned the presence of the colourful construction with its nooks and crannies. And probably with good reason… The house lies in a spot, where few tourists and locals pass by, but those who accidently drop by seem to come back for picnic, reflection, or just the sheer joy of the atmosphere of the place.

A couple of years ago, though, Dr. Pensak contacted the museum with the aim of restoring the house, which has been there for 40 years. When the house was assembled in 1975, a few shortcuts seem to be have been taken. With the aim of restoring the house and making it more authentic, three Thai carpenters and one Thai architect arrived in August 2017, and they are now working on correcting the shortcuts from the 1970s.

Hopefully, the Thai house and it’s marvellous surroundings will provide the grounds for another 40 years of picnic making, reflection, and sheer joy. So why not drop by, and enjoy it yourself?

//Ulrik Høj Johnsen

thailand, thai house, tradition, denmark, museum, moesgaard

Thai craft man working on the house, August 2017

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