The Kamthieng House is a 160-year old traditional teakwood house situated within the grounds of the Siam Society. It is one of the best surviving examples of Northern Thai architecture and provides a superb example of a traditional Northern Thai house built on wooden stilts.
It also serves as an ethnological museum. The house has been stocked with artifacts associated with the rural way of life in traditional agricultural communities. This includes a fascinating collection of beautifully hand-woven materials, ornate wood carvings, traditional musical instruments and sacred items.
Under the house at ground level, a rich assortment of fishtraps, irrigation devices, ploughs and rice-harvesting equipment made of wood, reeds and bamboo are displayed.
Occasionally, with permission granted by the Society, private functions are held within the grounds and gardens of the Society with the Kamthieng House providing a picturesque setting for a private event for between 25-30 persons.
The Origins of Kamthieng House Museum
One of the Siam Society's original goals, written into the rules at its founding in 1904, was the creation of an ethnological museum. It was not, however, until almost sixty years later, in 1963, that plans for such a museum were actually formulated in a discussion between Mr. Kraisri Nimmanahaeminda of Chiang Mai and the Director of the Siam Society Research Center.
The plan began to take effect when Mr. Kraisri's mother, Nang Kimhaw Nimmanahaeminda, offered her unused ancestral teak house to the Siam Society. This house, which had been built in the middle of nineteenth century, was of itself of great ethnological and artistic value.
The Siam Society was fortunate to receive support of the Asia Foundation in San Francisco to dismantle the house and to relocate it to its present place in the grounds of the Siam Society. The work was completed in 1964 and the house was named "The Kamthieng House."