Visit the Jim Thompson House in Thailand
The Jim Thompson House is a museum in central Bangkok, Thailand, housing the art collection of American businessman and architect Jim Thompson, the museum designer and former owner. Built in 1959, the museum spans one rectangular “rai” of land (approximately half an acre or 2023.43 meters). It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Thailand; sporting vibrant jungle foliage in the heart of the city.
Following his relocation to Bangkok and the establishment of the Thai Silk Company Limited in 1948, Thompson also became a major collector of Southeast Asian art, which at the time, was not well-known internationally. Attracted by the subtlety of their craftsmanship and expression, he built a large collection of historical Buddhist statues and traditional Thai paintings made of wood, cloth, and paper that depicted the life of Buddha and the legend of Vessantara Jataka. He collected secular art not only from Thailand but from Burma, Cambodia, and Laos, frequently travelling to those countries on buying trips. His collection also consisted of white and blue porcelain from China, which made its way into Thailand around the 16th and 17th centuries.
In 1958, he began what was to be the pinnacle of his architectural achievement, a new home to live in and to showcase his art collection. The museum was planned to consist of a complex combination of six traditional Thai-styled houses, primarily constructed of wood, and various old Thai structures that were collected from all parts of Thailand in the 1950s and 1960s. His home sits on a klong (canal) across from Bangkrua, where his weavers were then located. Most of the 19th-century houses were dismantled and moved from Ayutthaya, but the largest, a weaver’s house (now the living room), came from Bangkrua.
After Thompson’s disappearance in 1967, the house came under the control of The James H. W. Thompson Foundation under the royal patronage of H.R.H. Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn. At 6 Soi Kasemsan 2, Rama 1 Road, Pathumwan, only a block away from Bangkok National Stadium, it is open everyday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. [ICT].
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