Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre (TAEC) via the Luang Prabang Fund for Culture and Conservation

Our Mission: To facilitate pride and investment in Laos' ethnic diversity and cultural resources by helping visitors and locals to understand and value the changing lifestyles of Laos' many ethnic groups, and providing an outlet for the development and selling of their handicrafts. Founding Principles and Information: The Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre is a museum in the UNESCO World Heritage town of Luang Prabang, Lao PDR. It is the only independent non-profit museum and resource centre in Laos dedicated to the collection, preservation, and interpretation of the traditional arts and lifestyles of the country's many and diverse ethnic groups. TAEC features professional exhibitions...

Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre (TAEC) via the Luang Prabang Fund for Culture and Conservation
4975 Walnut Walk
Dayton, Ohio 45429
United States
+856 71 253 364
http://www.taeclaos.org and www.lpfund.org

Board of Directors

Tara Gujadhur, Thongkhoun Soutthivilay

Project Leaders

Tara Gujadhur

Mission

Our Mission: To facilitate pride and investment in Laos' ethnic diversity and cultural resources by helping visitors and locals to understand and value the changing lifestyles of Laos' many ethnic groups, and providing an outlet for the development and selling of their handicrafts. Founding Principles and Information: The Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre is a museum in the UNESCO World Heritage town of Luang Prabang, Lao PDR. It is the only independent non-profit museum and resource centre in Laos dedicated to the collection, preservation, and interpretation of the traditional arts and lifestyles of the country's many and diverse ethnic groups. TAEC features professional exhibitions on the ethnic cultures of Laos, a Museum Shop promoting handicrafts from village artisans, and Le Patio Cafe. To date, TAEC has welcomed over 55,000 Lao and international visitors, and has rapidly emerged as a regional leader in cultural heritage management and community development. TAEC is guided by a Board of Advisors, consisting of anthropologists and textile scholars. The Centre was founded by Tara Gujadhur and Thongkhoun Soutthivilay who now serve as Co-Directors. Tara Gujadhur is an American with an anthropology background and 13 years experience in indigenous community development and sustainable tourism in southern Africa and Southeast Asia. Thongkhoun Soutthivilay is a Luang Prabang native trained in Japan, the Netherlands, and Thailand who worked at the Luang Prabang National Museum for over 10 years as the Collection Manager and a conservator. Together they began work on TAEC in 2006, building a collection, researching and working with ethnic communities, and curating the permanent exhibitions. The Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre was launched on 5 July 2007.

Programs

Today, TAEC is engaged in a broad range of museum and community engagement activities, reflecting its commitment to supporting living ethnic minority communities to preserve and promote their cultural heritage while looking towards the future. TAEC's activities include: Exhibitions: The permanent exhibition contains text, photographs, and objects from villages throughout the north of Laos. Information is in Lao and English. French, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Chinese and Japanese translations are also available. The most recent temporary exhibition, "From Courtship to Kinship: Wedding Celebrations of Laos' Ethnic Groups" opened in September 2011. Based on professional museum standards, artefacts are rotated regularly and archival lighting, mounting and display techniques are employed. Advocacy and Livelihoods: TAEC recognises the need to support livelihood development in ethnic minority communities, which represent a disproportionate percentage of the poor in Laos, as well as foster the more long-term goal of cultural pride and identity building. The Museum Shop sells crafts sourced directly from artisan communities, promoting handicraft skills and livelihoods based on traditional arts, and reducing the need to sell antiques. According to fair-trade and sustainability principles, TAEC works closely with handicraft producers, providing small loans and payments upfront, training in product design, quality and small business practices, and logistical support. TAEC has supported artisans to visit Luang Prabang to participate in cultural exchange activities. On average, 50% of the shop's income goes directly to the handicraft producers themselves, and currently provides over 500 ethnic minority women, men and their families in 12 provinces with supplementary income. TAEC is developing further advocacy activities with ethnic minority communities, and is currently developing plans for a network of community museums located in ethnic villages in northern Laos. Education: TAEC encourages Lao communities and youth to learn about Laos' ethnic diversity by offering free admission to all Lao citizens and running school outreach activities and student tours. TAEC periodically hosts young people from rural ethnic villages in an internship program, and provides professional development and training for cultural and tourism workers. In 2010 TAEC staged a community festival to promote understanding of and respect for ethnic cultures in Luang Prabang. TAEC has a growing library of books, articles, CDs, DVDs and photographs on ethnology, Laos, history, and Southeast Asian arts, and acts as a repository for ethnology research in Laos. Resources are in English, Lao, Thai and French. When funding permits, TAEC plans to develop a public resource room, with searchable databases and lending capabilities. Preservation and Documentation: The TAEC permanent collection consists of over 400 objects from 30 ethnic groups, documented and preserved for future generations using locally appropriate archival methods. The Centre is also responsible for maintaining artefacts on loan from private collections. Research: TAEC conducts primary research in ethnic communities, developing close relationships to localise and enrich the information collected. TAEC's own team visits the field an average of four times a year, primarily to document festivals and special events, gather information on collection objects, and research future exhibit themes. TAEC is an active participant in international ethnology and traditional arts scholarship, and has presented conference papers in Singapore, Vietnam and Thailand.

Statistics on Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre (TAEC) via the Luang Prabang Fund for Culture and Conservation

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