5 Of The Oldest Museums In Bhutan You Must Visit

Museums in Bhutan represent how our forefathers lived in the past

Every country in the world has museums, and each museum tells stories of the past.

It shows how humanity has progressed over thousands of years.

Bhutan is a fascinating country with a rich architectural landscape, beautiful culture, traditions, and history. 

Museums in Bhutan reveal many previously unknown facts about a bygone age. They are adorned with ancient monuments. 

If you are a museumgoer, you can learn more about the ancients of Bhutan, one of the smallest but most unique countries in the world.

If you want to know more about the 5 oldest museums in Bhutan, read below!

  1. National Museum of Bhutan
  2. Institute of Traditional Medicine Services 
  3. Institute for zorig Chusum
  4. Folk Heritage Museum
  5. Bhutan Textile Museums

1. National Museum of Bhutan

Most museums in Bhutan reflect Bhutanese creative traditions in pieces of art

The National Museum of Bhutan, located at Ta Dzong in Paro, was founded in 1968. The unique round building has 2.5 metre thick walls.  

The Ta dzong was damaged in 2011 because of an earthquake, but it reopened as its primary museum in 2019.

The museum has a total of 4 floors. When you enter the 4th floor, you will see the early history of Bhutan and how magic and science are intertwined in Bhutan. 

The National Museum is one of the famous museums in Bhutan, and in this museum, you will see 3000 masterpieces and artworks representing Bhutan’s 1500 year cultural history.

 You can see numerous thangkas exhibits of Buddhism’s masters. 

Thangka is a Tibetan Buddhist artwork on cotton with silk appliqué showing a Buddhist deity, scene, or mandala.

There are displays of Bhutan’s unique national dress gho for males and kira for females in these museums in Bhutan.

Cameras are not permitted inside the museum, but you can take pictures of Ta Dzong and its surroundings from outside.

The visit to museums in Bhutan is cost-friendly as you have to pay nu.250 as an entrance fee. 

After a tour of the museum, take a walk from the museum to the dzong and back to town because you will enjoy picturesque views of the valley and the Ugyen Pelri Palace along the way. 

2. National Institute of Traditional Medicine 

Traditional medicine museums in Bhutan exhibit medicine made from herbal product

The institute was established in 1978. It collects medicinal plants from far-flung parts of Bhutan’s Himalaya and delivers pills, ointments, and medicinal teas to regional healthcare units around the country.

The Institute of Traditional Medicine museum in Bhutan showcases ingredients that include herbs, minerals, precious metals, gems, and animal parts with healing abilities.

This museum in Bhutan and a fully functional herbal medicine hospital are located in the same place. 

They cover some of the 300 herbs, minerals, and animal parts from which Bhutanese doctors can choose.

The cordyceps, locally known as yartsa goenbub is very popular, and this mysterious ‘worm-root’ can fetch up to US$25,000 per kilogram in China. 

If you are feeling unwell, the on-site clinic will assess your wind, bile, and phlegm balance and recommend necessary traditional medicines or treatments free of charge.

Herbal plants like lasgang root and gentiana help with a sore throat, while chozen nagsel is said to help with all disorders caused by evil spirits.

3. Institute for zorig Chusum

The National Institute of Zorig Chusum museum in Bhutan exhibits traditional art and craft

The Government of Bhutan founded the National Institute for Zorig Chusum, popularly known as painting schools, in Thimphu and Trashi Yangtse, in 1971 to preserve and promote traditional art in contemporary Bhutan.

In this museum in Bhutan, Students are taught thirteen talents at the National Institute of Zorig Chusum. Zorig Chusum translates to “Thirteen Crafts.”

These thirteen crafts are traditional Painting, Sculpturing, Wood Carving, Calligraphy, Traditional Paper making, Bronze Casting, Embroidery art, Weaving clothes, Carpentry, Masonry, Bamboo and cane weaving, and Black smithy.

It is known that this thirteen craft was officially codified in the 17th century. In the museums in Bhutan, you get a chance to see all thirteen crafts made by students.

Bhutanese traditional art and craft were impacted by Buddhism, eventually becoming “traditional” and reflecting the culture’s creative sense and emotions.

The traditional products made in institutes can be seen and bought at the markets in Thimphu.

4. Folk Heritage Museum

The Folk heritage museum in Bhutan showcases an ordinary household of Bhutan

The folk heritage museum opened in 2001 in Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan.  

It gives visitors and tourists intriguing insights into Bhutanese material culture and way of life. 

The Folk Heritage Museum in Bhutan is a typical three-story traditional house from the nineteenth century.

The collection in this museum in Bhutan includes household products, tools, equipment, and artefacts from rural homes to give you a glimpse of traditional Bhutanese existence in the past.

The museum also hosts educational programs for children and hosts regular demonstrations of rural traditions, skills, habits, and customs.

This museum in Bhutan does an outstanding job of recreating a traditional household’s rural setting and ambiance by erecting paddy, wheat, and millet fields. 

It also has a traditional water mill with millstones used over 150 years ago, traditional kitchen gardens with vegetables grown in the past 100 years, and famous hot stone baths.

Tourists can also take advantage of the museum’s unique offers for a small price if they make a reservation one week in advance.

Within the museum’s grounds, there will be demonstrations of the traditional methods of extracting oil, brewing ara (local alcohol), roasting rice, and pounding rice.

In addition, this museum in Bhutan hosts an open-air buffet lunch and dinner, which includes a variety of traditional meals from across the Kingdom.

5. Bhutan Textile Museums

The Textile Museum in Bhutan has many rare, valuable, and stunning royal items 

The Textile Museum in Bhutan opened in 2001, giving Bhutanese and visitors from all over the world the opportunity to appreciate Bhutan’s remarkable artistry.  

Under the patronage of Queen Mother Sangay Choden Wangchuck, the Bhutan Textile Museum aims to showcase Bhutan’s rich and colourful culture.

For the convenience of the tourists, the museum in Bhutan employs some of the friendliest and most knowledgeable tour guides to explain and ensure tourists gain more knowledge.

Bhutan’s Textile Museum in Bhutan, dedicated only to textile arts, contributed to the preservation and recognition of the textile arts.

Bhutan’s textile arts have become more well-known, and the collections have expanded in size, necessitating a more significant space for research, display, and storage.   

Bhutan established the Royal Textile Academy (RTA) in May 2005 to preserve and promote the art of weaving.

Conclusions

These are the 5 oldest museums in Bhutan, with an excellent collection of beautiful art and craft representing Bhutan’s past and present.

Museumgoers are welcome to museums in Bhutan to learn more about the Bhutanese lifestyle, history, and culture.

You will learn how unique Bhutanese are from other parts of the world. Though Bhutan is one of the tiny globally, the value you will receive from visiting these museums in Bhutan is immense.

Above mentioned museums in Bhutan are a must-see when vacationing in Bhutan. 
If you plan to visit Bhutan, visit Norbu Bhutan Travel and book your trip to experience Bhutan at its finest!

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