Attending the opening ceremony in person were Minister of Culture Itthiphol Kunplome and Permanent Secretary Yupa Thawiwatthanakitworn, and Phang Nga Governor Chamroen Tipayapongtada.
“Although the disaster happened more than 17 years ago, those affected and their relatives still remember the scale of the tragedy, including loss of human lives and damage to property. This can be seen from the annual commemorative activities in the affected areas,” PM Prayut said.
“The Baan Nam Khem community was the most damaged area in the six provinces affected by the tsunami, and the psychological impact here was dramatic,” PM Prayut noted.
The museum will be a source of historical knowledge for people and also bring additional income to the community, explained Culture Minister Itthipol, whose ministry funded the project.
The museum would also serve as a learning centre, which would help avoid, or at least mitigate, such suffering from future disasters by means of proper surveillance and relevant actions, he added.
“Before Dec 26, 2004, Thai people had never experienced an earthquake and a tsunami.” Mr Itthipol said.
“Now people from all around the world travel to Thailand to commemorate the event every year, so the Baan Nam Khem Tsunami Museum can also be a cultural tourist attraction and a centre for community arts and culture dissemination activities,” he added.
“The project will also help to drive the grassroots economy, create jobs and generate sustainable income for people in the area, which is in line with the vision of ‘Culture and Creativity playing a leading role in the development of economy and Thai society’. Thus the project will have both social value and economic value,” Mr Itthipol said.
The Baan Nam Khem Tsunami Museum, located in Takua Pa District, occupies more than five rai of land. The main exhibition building is a one-story building. The front is designed as a curve representing a wave. There is a spherical aperture in the shape of a wave bubble spreading along the length of the building, making the inside of the museum. There is also an empty space resembling the bottom of a long wave throughout the exhibition room.
Outside, there is a warning tower with a design inspired by traditional fishing tools. It serves as a landmark that allows visitors to ascend the structure and view the surrounding area.
The exhibitions within the museum are divided into four main sections:
Section 1: Exhibition outside the building with two fishing boats that the tsunami swept ashore with the traces remaining an important witness of the event.
Section 2: Information service stand, souvenir shop and a multimedia room.
Section 3: An exhibition of “stories” of the disaster.
Section 4. Park area and facilities.
Visitors including foreign tourists can visit the Baan Nam Khem Tsunami Museum every day from Wednesday to Sunday from 8:30am-4:30pm.