Dan Sai Folk Museum

Loei Province

The Dan Sai Museum in Wat Ponechai used to be the old chamber, built in 1935, of the abbot. It is all wood and in local architectural style. The museum is a complete collection of the things related to the culture and tradition of the Dan Sai town. Starting from the first room – it provides information on the town of Dan Sai and the Phra That Srisongruk, and covers the history of Dan Sai 400 years back. There is the legendary history of the Phra That too. Zone 2, the “pee ta khon” room, is about the “heet sipsong kong sibsee” tradition of the Isan people, the “Bunluang Festival”, and the pee ta khon ritual. Explanations are given on how the pee ta khon masks are made, the beliefs concerning the ritual, which both the players and viewers should understand.

Zone 3 is the video room featuring the history of Dan Sai, the Bunluang ceremony, the pee ta khon ritual, the tourist attractions in the area, the local food, and the important personalities of Dan Sai. Zone 4 is on all the good things Dan Sai is so proud of such as the local herbal medicines, the tourist attractions. One can also obtain the information on the Dan Sai District. Zone 5 is the demonstration, every weekend, of how pee ta khon masks are made. One can also try on the pee ta khon masks and costumes. Finally in zone 6, there are a restaurant and a corner selling some souvenirs such as tiny masks, and pee ta khon ceramics. The income from the business is for the operational cost of the museum.

It really took some time for the museum, formerly only a public library exhibition on the pee ta khon tradition, to be set up. It all started in 1979 when TAT promoted tourism in the area. Consequently, more people showed their interests in visiting the town. More questions were asked. So with the initiation of the Dan Sai Adult Education Centre officers, a fund was allocated from TAT and the Loei Province to set up the museum, which also received the support from the abbot and the community itself.

During the Bunluang Festival visitors from all over Thailand come flocking to Wat Ponchai. The museum thus other than being a learning centre on the Boonluang ceremony and the Pee Ta Khon Mask Dance also serves as a refuge from the heat for the visitors.