Focus on land-based site: Ayutthaya
The Barge Program visits Ayutthaya as part of a barge trip or as a land-trip looking at the role of the river in shaping this former capital. The Ayutthayan period matches the Tudor period in British history so is popular with schools studying this era looking for a country-relevant study. For further information about land trips see barge programs
Thai Boat Museum, Ayutthaya
Imagine a time 500 years ago - the Ayutthaya period. Most people used boats for transportation because it was the easiest way to navigate the network of canals and rivers. Boats at that time were made from wood such as teak-wood or iron-wood. Carpenters would choose logs because of their straight profile, ability to float and durability.
Paitoon Khawmala is one man who has had a spiritual bond with the Chao Phraya river and boats since childhood. He has taught drawing and ship design throughout his life. While working at the Technical School of Ship Building
he realized the progress in technology of river transportation and transit between countries. He recognised that boats were being used less frequently, and that wood as the main material was also being used less. He considered that traditional Thai boats would soon disappear leaving future generations ignorant of these traditional skills and styles.
Khun Paitoon founded the Thai Boat Museum in 1994 in his own home in Ayutthaya to preserve traditional knowledge and as a source of learning.The museum has many boat models that are handmade by Khun Paitoon and his family.
On a recent visit to the Thai Boat Museum students saw many types of historical Thai boats as well as some that are still being used today. Even though this museum is not very big, our students were amazed at many of the exhibits including boat parts and a 350-year-old wooden anchor.
The Barge Program enjoys visiting this museum because of the strong connections to the river and boats just like our own barge. We can investigate history by seeing how boat technology has changed over the years from the Ayutthaya Kingdom to the current day. Students can explore and develop their own interest and wonder at the boats in this unique collection. The Thai Boat Museum and its staff is a true learning resource to help in discovering more of Ayutthaya’s historical stories.