Visit the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre and help to conserve Lao culture by supporting this important and insightful initiative.
What to experience ?
Located in an historic building, the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre (TAEC) is a museum of international class. The Centre exhibits ethnic clothing, household objects, religious artefacts, and handicrafts; over 400 objects from more than thirty different ethnic groups are part of the collection, preserved for future generations. Don’t miss the full Akha headdress made with over 300 pure silver French Indochinese coins. TAEC does not depict ethnic minorities as ‘frozen in time’, but shows the complexities of their history and contemporary life, and recognises the changes all the cultures in Laos are going through.
Visitors can wander around the exhibition at their own pace, learning about the lifestyles, beliefs and traditions of the different ethnic groups from detailed interpretation based on in-depth field research. Information is supplied in eight different languages and guided tours can be organised.
Besides the museum, the shop has a huge range of fair trade products and souvenirs created by the ethnic groups featured in the exhibits. At any time you can relax in the Patio Café overlooking the beautiful That Chomsi temple. Le Patio Café is the only restaurant in Luang Prabang serving a full menu of ethnic minority food, such as Hmong pork belly, Akha meat balls, and Tai Dam pumpkin soup.
For enthusiasts, it is possible to attend seminars with resident anthropological experts who can provide deeper insights into the fascinating cultures and way of life of Laos’ ethnic groups.
In 2010 TAEC organized a three-day Ethnic Cultural Festival involving ten communities.
TAEC is wheelchair accessible from the back entrance.
How does it help ?
The centre is dedicated to the promotion and conservation of Laos’ ethnic cultural diversity. An important part of its mission is to give Lao people the opportunity to learn about and appreciate their own cultural heritage. The centre offers free admission to Lao citizens, and arranges special visits from schools, government offices, tourism businesses and guides, local villages and handicraft artisans. TAEC also promotes appreciation for the cultures and skills of Laos’ peoples through its community education programme, which includes primary school classroom talks, free tailored guided tours and activities for children, ethnic youth work training internships and professional development for Lao cultural workers.
The shop adheres to fair trade principles, and supports over 300 ethnic artisan families across twelve provinces, belonging to many ethnic communities: Kmhmu, Tai Dam, Talieng, Lanten, Phou Tai, Yao Mien, Tai Lue, Tai Lao, Akha, and Katu. Since its opening, the TAEC Museum Shop has generated over USD $85,000 of supplementary income for villages – about 50% of the shop revenue. Producers are primarily ethnic minority women, one of the poorest segments of the Lao population.
Member of Lao Fair Trade Association
Traditional Art & Ethnology Centre: Luang Prabang, behind Dalat market, at the foot of Phousy Hill.