Compliled by Siwalai
For over six decades of the reign of His Late Majesty King Bhumibol, Her Majesty Queen Sirikit has resolutely followed His Late Majesty the King and accompanied him on his visits to the people in remote areas throughout the country. With a strong determination to alleviate the hardship and suffering of the rural people, the royal couple have devoted time and energy to finding effective solutions for a better living with sufficient income, so that they can enjoy a happier life. While His Late Majesty devoted his energy to improving the life of farmers through soil improvement, the preservation of water sources, and many agricultural projects, Her Majesty did everything she can to help generate additional income for the farming families.
As Her Majesty accompanied her husband on the trips to numerous places around the country, she noticed that most Thais in rural areas could create folk handicrafts of outstanding craftsmanship. She realized that the rural Thai people, however poor they might be, possessed the amazing skills to create handicrafts, based on the knowledge that has been passed on from their ancestors. She then considered that these handicrafts could be a source of supplemental income, if they were properly cultivated and promoted. This led to Her Majesty’s initiative to launch the SUPPORT Foundation, the project to provide occupational training and supplementary livelihood through the making of folk handicrafts.
Besides the SUPPORT Foundation, which is Her Majesty’s most important project, there are two other projects that represent her ardent love for Thai arts and crafts, viz, Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles and Arts of the Kingdom, the exhibition of masterpieces of Thai craftsmen.
The Support Foundation
In the SUPPORT Foundation building, there are hundreds of trainees, coming from rural areas and undergoing occupational training in various branches of craftsmanship under the program set up by Her Majesty.
The goals of the courses are to enable the trainees to become fully capable of engaging in handicraft production and earning extra income from their supplementary occupations, as well as to help preserve and revive Thailand’s ancient tradition of handicraft production, which is in danger of dying out with the passage of time, so that these crafts gain wider recognition and acceptance as everyday household items.
On her trips to visit her subjects during a change of residence, the Queen took on a number of poor and undereducated children who have no experience in any craft as SUPPORT trainees and sought out surviving qualified teachers and enlisted their services in teaching the delicate arts. She inspected each and every article produced and gave encouragement to every member. She used all types of the products herself to set an example to the people in general.
At present, the foundation has several training centers in all regions of the country, offering training courses in 30 departments of crafts, for example, mudmee silk weaving, gold and silver nielloware, gold and silver crafts, yan lipao and khid pattern basketry, woodcarving, etc. Every department gets on with the business of learning and the creation of finished crafts in large quantities each year, which the foundation distributes through its outlets and Chitralada stores, annual exhibitions, and trade fairs.
Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles
Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles, established at the initiative of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit, is located in Bangkok inside the compound of the Grand Palace in Ratsadakorn-bhibhathana Building. It serves as a source of information and research on Thai woven textiles and the history of Thai traditional costumes. The museum’s main missions are to preserve traditional textiles and related documents, and hold exhibitions featuring valuable textiles of the royal court and those created by rural villagers, to support the Queen’s efforts to preserve and nurture traditional Thai woven fabrics as one of the country’s cultural treasures. The museum first opened to the public on 9 May 2012.
The museum’s mission is to collect, display, preserve, and serve as a centre for all who wish to learn about textiles, past and present, from Southeast Asia, South Asia, and East Asia, with a special emphasis on the textiles of, and related to, the royal court and Her Majesty Queen Sirikit. Additionally, its goal is to create public awareness of Thai identity and culture, and the beauty of Thai traditional textiles, through research, exhibition and interpretation. The museum’s objectives, set by Her Majesty, are being achieved by the museum staff, guided by Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.
The museum is divided into four galleries as follows: Galleries 1 & 2 – Fit For A Queen: Her Majesty Queen Sirikit’s Creations by Balmain. Galleries 3 & 4 – Dressing Gods and Demons: Costume for Khon.
The museum has a gift shop too. It offers a wide range of traditional and newly designed products, including decorative and functional items for the home, cotton and silk fashions and accessories, jewelry, books, stationery, and handmade silk flowers.
Admission and Ticketing
- Open daily from 09.00 - 16.30 hrs.
- Admission to the museum is included in the Grand Palace visitor’s entry fee; please show your palace ticket at the ticket desk for museum admission. For those wishing only to visit the museum: Adults - 150 baht, Seniors (over 65) - 80 baht, Students (with ID) - 50 baht, Youth (12-18) - 50 baht, Children (under 12) – free.
- For more information, Tel. (+66)0 2225 9420, 0 2225 9430 Website: www.qsmtthailand.org