The Lao National Museum is located in Vientiane, Laos. It was founded as the national museum highlighting the revolution of the 1970s and is located in a French colonial building. Since then, the building has been extended and used for various purposes, including the headquarter of Laos government, housing the King when visiting from Luang Prabang, and prime minister’s office until 1975, when the Laos people democratic republic was established.
The museum previously known as the Lao Revolutionary Museum, the institution deals primarily with the events, both ancient and recent, that led to the “inevitable victory” of the proletariat in 1975, which was originally built in 1925 as the French governor’s residence, presents the history of Laos, highlighting the Laotian people’s struggle to free the country from foreign occupiers and imperialist forces. It is located on Samsenthai road, opposite the Cultural Hall. This two-storey colonial mansion became the Lao National Museum in 1985 and houses enough relics of Lao history and culture, both ancient and modern, to make a visit worthwhile. In 2007, the United States donated a grant to help develop the museum.
You may be surprised to learn that dinosaur bones have been found in Laos. As well, there is evidence of early people from Neolithic, potentially Paleolithic times, with stone tools, pottery fragments and rock paintings found in Pha Faen cave and other rock shelter sights in Bolikhamxay province.
The upstairs exhibits are better organized and presented, tracing the modern history of Laos from the Siamese invasions and the eventual colonization by the French, through to revolution, the American war and communism. Interpretive signage is in Lao but detailed information can be gleaned from English captions that are available most of the time. There are some photographs of guillotines, old prisons and soldiers, the display a harsh reminder of the brutality the country faced during French colonization, before it moves into heart wrenching and rare photos of the Secret War that would be of particular interest to history buffs.
In early 2000 the building was newly opened as the Laos national museum, which now houses some 8.000 artifacts the across the country. The museum’s collection continues to increase, representing paleontology, archaeology, history and ethnology.
Address: Rue Samsenthai, Chanthabouly District, Vientiane, Laos
Opening Hours: 08:00-12:00, 13:00-16:00 from Monday to Sunday
Tel: +856 21212461
Phong Dzang (collecting) – IndochinaKings