Bangkok's New Textile Museum

The Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles opened its doors in Bangkok in 2012. It occupies the fully-renovated former building of the Ministry of Finance, just minutes from the famous Royal Palace.
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As the name indicates, this museum was created as an initiative of Her Majesty the Queen of Thailand. She has made the preservation of the textile traditions of her country a priority, even the work of her lifetime.
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Always passionate about fabrics, she has since the 1960s acted on a desire to travel to the most remote regions of Thailand in order to meet artisans from different traditions of different ethnic minorities. Aided by a team of specialists, she has collected thousands of weaving and embroidery samples, forming a remarkable catalog of techniques, some of which have been all but forgotten.
Framing artisan crafts as a major activity in Thailand, the Queen founded the SUPPORT organization in order to take concrete action to preserve local cultural heritage. The foundation has opened and supported workshops in rural areas, particularly in the little-known region of Issan, in Northeastern Thailand. SUPPORT is also responsible for marketing artisanal products, such as “Mudmee” silks, a Thai variety of ikat, thus providing a source of reliable income for rural communities often excluded from the overall national economic development.
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The exceptional work and commitment of the foundation are apparent at the museum. The space also houses the Southeast Asian textile collection and some of the wardrobe of Queen Sirikit: extremely refined regalia and ceremonial dress worn throughout her reign to meet the needs of political protocol. Silk brocade done in gold thread, pearls and precious stones, traditional embroidery with iridescent beetle shells…from the wardrobe of Her Majesty, some thirty outfits are displayed and sparkle brightly. One discovers as well her longterm collaboration with Pierre Balmain, and how she designed the national dress of Thai women in the 1960s: a silk tunic skillfully draped asymmetrically over one shoulder and fastened at the waist.
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To showcase the richness of its collections, the museum offers many accessible and educational temporary exhibitions. The space hopes to offer itself as a center of research and reference for textile enthusiasts worldwide, regularly inviting international experts, collectors, and fashion curators to participate in conferences.
www.qsmtthailand.org