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From the Past to the Present of Permanent Exhibition
The exhibition section of Chaing Mai National Museum, namely “The Permanent Exhibition”, has been developed as follows.

From 1973 to before 1996
The exhibition was divided into 3 sections including: section 1, section 2, at ground floor, and section 3 at the upper floors.
Section 1: showing the archeology and art history that are the cultural heritage of Thailand. These includes antiquities, artifacts in chronological order and according to types of art which are the period of prehistoric, historic, Dvaravati, Vijaya, Lopburi, Chiang Saen or Lanna, Sukhothai, U-Thong, Ayutthaya and Rattanakosin. The antiquities were mostly moved from National Museum, Pra Nakorn, Bangkok.
Section 2 : Emphasizing the importance of archeology and art history in the north, this section presents sculptures made by several northern professional families who are Hariphunchai’s, Chiang Saen or Lanna’s and Phayao’s. Most of the sculpture are Buddha images and Buddha statues made of clay, bronze, stone and precious metals. This section is also including fine art such as wood carving, Dhamma book chest, The footprint of the Buddha decorated by pearls, and earthenware from ancient kilns, which are from Wiang Kalong kiln, San Kamphaeng kiln, Tao Pan kiln and Wang Nuae kiln.
Section 3 : displaying folk art and ethnological objects, such as the artifact of the northern royalty. This section also presents tools that show the culture and life of the northern people group called "Thaiwon" and some ethnic groups. Those tools are the tools for farming and animal, kitchen, weaving, clothing and so on.
Besides, some antiques were displayed outside of the exhibition building such as earthenware kilns, Wang Nuae kiln cite, Amphoe Wang Nuae, Lampang province, and Tao Pan kiln cite (Pongdeang), Amphoe Pan, Chiangrai.

B.E. 2542 to before B.E.2556
During B.E. 2539 – B.E. 2542, the permanent exhibition of Chiang Mai National Museum had been restored and improved. In addition, a lot more areas of academic contents in terms of city museums, provincial museums and regional museums had also been added by emphasizing importance of the Kingdom of Lanna and Chiang Mai as well as identities of the northern cultures. The exhibition was divided into 6 parts which included the exhibition part 1-3 on the downstairs and the exhibition part 4-6 on the upstairs.
Section 1 : exhibited the background of the land of Lanna in terms of geology and ancient lives, topography and the northern environments, pre-historic settlement of humans, including the stories of Lua and Hariphunchai, the first state in the North.
Section 2 : provided an exhibition on the history of the Kingdom of Lanna, initiating from the establishment of Chiang Mai, prosperity and deterioration of the kingdom.
Section 3 : illustrated the story of Chiang Mai under the Kingdom of Siam since regaining sovereignty lost to Burma, the establishment of Chiang Mai since B.E. 2339 and the relationship between Chang Mai and the Kingdom of Siam.
Section 4 : exhibited the story about trade and the economy at the beginning, during B.E.2339 – 2463, and the second period, B.E.2467 – 2482 there was the construction of northern railway line.
Section 5 : showed the story about living and social development such as agriculture and industry, finance and banking, international relations, including education and public health.
Section 6 : exhibited the evolution of arts of Lanna and arts in Thailand.
Apart from maps, diagrams, charts, photographs, explanation signs and object explanation signs which were used as the media between Chiang Mai National Museum and the visitors, the improvement of the permanent exhibition provided a lot of techniques and a variety of exhibition media such as the duplication of archaeological excavation, descriptive paintings, paintings as accessory to person models and important events, with Thai and English dubbing, the use of transparent display box, and exhibition on stories and other information through touch screen computer system.

B.E. 2560 the present time
During B.E. 2556 – 2559, there had been an improvement of the entire permanent exhibition of Chiang Mai National Museum again by adding details about knowledge on archaeology, history and arts of Lanna in order to relate all the information to the present academic progress, while the prior information related to geography, geology and ethnography were less emphasized as there has been an increase in museums of such fields. Moreover, this improvement aimed at enhancing Chiang Mai National Museum to be the central learning resources for education, conservation and service provision on arts and cultural heritage of Chiang Mai and the Upper North of Thailand.
This improvement of the permanent exhibition focused on the beauty of antiquities and arts objects by highlighting designs of durable articles such as cabinets, shelves, bases and display booths, use of colors, organizing and lighting, and providing services on museum guides and information of antiquities and arts objects exposed through multimedia and modern technology such as QR/AR CODE system and 3D diorama system for virtual museum
This improved permanent exhibition composed of 16 exhibition halls as follows:
The 8 exhibition rooms on the upstairs displayed living of prehistoric humans surveyed and excavated from more than 100 archaeological sites in upper northern region such as in Mae Tha district, Pratupha site, Mae Moh, Chiang Mai, Ban Wang Hai, Muang, Lamphun, etc.
The Historic Age of Lanna began from the appearance of Hariphunchai State, the center of Dheravada Buddhism in Chiang Mai-Lamphun intermontane basin around 16th - 18th Buddhist Era until Phaya Mang Rai of Yonok State from Chiang Rai – Chiangsaen intermontane basin, expanded his power to combine both areas and established “Nobburi Srinakhonping Chiang Mai or Wiang Ping” to be the Capital of the Kingdom of Lanna, with 18 kings ruling the kingdom (B.E. 1839 - 2101). In this part of the exhibition, beliefs and prosperity of Buddhism in Lanna are emphasized. After a while Lanna had lost sovereignty to Burma fro more than 200 years. However, Nakhonping Chiang Mai has a good relationship with the Kingdom of Siam. Although it was only a colony or a northern district of Siam, it had freedom in ruling its kingdom, with 9 governors. When the Siamese Revolution took place, its status has been changed to be Chiang Mai province since B.E. 2476.
Besides, parts of exhibition on the upstairs of this building are like taking the visitors to back to the past evolution of historical Lanna from Rattanakosin in Lanna Era and Hariphunchai Era to prehistoric Age.

8 exhibition rooms on the upstairs include

Buddhist Belief

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Buddhism in the Kingdom of Lanna

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Lanna in Rattanakosin Period

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Lanna in Rattanakasin Era

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The Kingdom of Lanna

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Lanna under Burmese Rule

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The Pre-historic Age in the North of Thailand

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Relationships between Chiang Mai and Siam
There are 8 rooms at the downstairs presented the stories and evidences of arts which reflected the development of Buddha in Lanna arts. The development includes four periods of Buddha Statues which are the influences of Hariphunchai arts, India-Pala arts and Burmese-Bagan arts in the 19th Buddhist century, the influences of Sukhothai arts in the 20th Buddhist century, Lanna arts particularity in the 21st Buddhist century, and in the late of the 21st Buddhist century. The outstanding antiques are Bronze Buddha Head or “Phra San Sae”, 182 cm. H, Artificial Buddha Bucha found at Hod District, Chiang Mai Province before Bhumibol Dam was constructed. Most of Phra Phim, Buddha Bucha and Worship Oblation of Buddhism were fretworks with the age around the 24th – 25th Buddhist century.
Moreover, the exhibition also presents the wares found at difference sources of kiln, archaeology and archaeological sites included Lanna wares, Sukhothai wares and wares from overseas such as China and Vietnam. This revealed the communication between Lanna and other countries. Lanna painting, especially in the temple, still presents in Thailand for interested people and students to study and compare with Lanna arts.า

Exhibition at the downstairs includes 8 rooms as follows.

Development of Buddha Statues of Lanna Arts

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Phra San Sae

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Phra Phim Lanna

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Buddha Bucha and Worship oblation of Buddhism

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Antiques found at Hod District, Chiang Mai Province

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Lanna Ware

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Lanna Painting

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Arts in Thailand

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