Royal Heritage Museum in Trongsa attracting increasing number of visitors

The Royal Heritage Museum in Trongsa is seeing an increasing number of visitors after it was established in 2008. More than 11,000 visitors, both international tourists and locals, visited the museum in the last three years. Among them, over 7300 were Bhutanese. To further attract local visitors, the museum’s administration is planning to conduct more temporary exhibitions. It is also to educate the Bhutanese on the importance of ancient artefacts.

The Royal Heritage Museum has permanent and temporary exhibition galleries which have fascinating personal belongings of the country’s hereditary monarchs including Trongsa Penlop Jigme Namgyal. Currently, two coronation medals of the first king can be sighted at the ongoing temporary exhibition.

“For the international tourists, the permanent exhibition seems new to them as they usually visit the museum only once. However, for the local visitors, the permanent exhibition is not as exciting for them as they visit it frequently. Therefore, the main reason for conducting the temporary exhibitions is to give a fresh experience for them,” said Sangay Tashi, a curator of the Royal Heritage Museum.

The Royal Heritage Museum has around 500 types of mixed artefacts. Currently, there are 200 artefacts in 11 galleries of the permanent exhibition and 15 artefacts in six galleries of the temporary exhibition.

“For the temporary exhibitions, we usually do photo exhibitions or we collect artefacts on loans from government agencies and private firms. In some cases, we pay the charges accordingly and in some cases, we restore the artefacts and return them to the respective owners after the exhibition is over,” said Sangay Tashi, a curator of the Royal Heritage Museum.

Today, the museum collects Nu 500 from international visitors, Nu 100 from local visitors and Nu 10 from students.

“Bhutanese do not have a habit of visiting museums though the national museum has been there since the 1960s. The temporary exhibition is an alternative idea to attract Bhutanese to sense and feel our culture as most artefacts are related to our culture,” said Sangay Tashi.

Officials of the museum, through its ‘Taking Museum to the Schools and Communities’ programme have been travelling to far-flung communities to educate the students and people on the importance of the museum and the artefacts. When possible, replicas of artefacts are also displayed to them.

The museum saw an increasing trend in the number of international visitors from around 980 in 2021 to over 2060 in 2022 and around 4300 last year. The local visitors have also increased from 975 in 2021 to 1080 in 2022 and around 1690 last year.

The Royal Heritage Museum was opened in 2008 to commemorate a century of reign under the Wangchuck dynasty.

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