Chiang Mai City Art & Cultural Center

In the center of the old walled city, behind the monument to the Three Kings, stands the old provincial hall. The hall was built in 1924 when the government in Bangkok decided to exert full control over the former Lanna kingdom, which up to then had been an autonomous region of Siam. The hall stands on the site of a palace of one of the former princes of Chiang Mai. Lanna palaces were typically built of wood, and each successive king would usually tear down the previous ruler's buildings and build his own.

Chiang Mai Art and Culture Center
The old provincial offices, no serving as the Chiang Mai Art and Culture Center

Requiring more space, the provincial administration was moved to new buildings outside the old city and by 1996 had completely abandoned the old hall. The city administration requested permission to use the building and renovations were completed by 1999.

The permanent exhibits cover the history of Chiang Mai, from the earliest human settlements to the modern city. The old reception room of the governor's office has been fully restored to look as it would have been when important guests visited Chiang Mai.

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The rear half of the building is mostly occupied by a large courtyard surrounded by a two story hallway. This portion of the building houses the offices, temporary exhibits, the museum store and a small coffee shop. The museum store is worth a look. One room displays for sale samples of contemporary works by Chiang Mai artists. Just about every style you can name is represented.

Admission & Hours

The Chiang Mai City Art & Cultural Center is open Tuesdays to Sundays from 8:30 to 17:00. Admission is 90 Baht (2.34 USD).