The hall of Inspiration tells the story of one family, the Mahidol family, and how they inspired each other to serve the country. The exhibition covers three generations, starting with Her Majesty Queen Sawang Vadhana, grandmother of H.M. the King. It then moves on to the parents, His Royal Highness Princess Srinagarindra the Princess Mother; finally we move to their children, Her Royal Highness Princess Galyani Vadhana, His Majesty King Ananda Mahidol and His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
The exhibition presents the character, philosophies, values and working principles of the family and demonstrates how members of the family inspired each other. Most of all, it shows their determination to find ways to improve the lives and livelihoods of Thai people in all corners of the Kingdom through simple but effective projects and interventions.
The idea for the Hall of Inspiration emerged from the Exhibition “Saeng Nueng Khue Rung Ngam”, or “Spectrum”, which celebrated of the 84th anniversary of the birth of H.R.H. Princess Galyani Vadhana, elder sister of H.M. the King, in May 2007. The Exhibition Organizing Committee and the Mae Fah Luang Foundation agreed that part of exhibition should become a permanent addition to the Princess Mother’s Commemorative Hall at Doi Tung. When deciding how best to incorporate this new component, it was agreed that the Commemorative Hall should be totally renovated, with additional new material and content to include 5 members of the Mahidol family. Mr. Jitas Sornsongkram, grandson of H.R.H. Princess Galyani Vadhana and a recognized architect and exhibition designer, was designated to lead the working group charged with the creation of the exhibition.
It was then decided to use the name “Hall of Inspiration” because in addition to giving the Thai people (especially the younger generation) and foreign visitors a better understanding of the pivotal and inspirational role of the Mahidol family throughout the country, the exhibition would also show how members of the family inspired each other to work for the Thai people in all corners of the kingdom and how their example can, in turn, inspire others to work for the benefit of society.
Main Features of the “Hall of Inspiration”
The story is told through a metaphor of a drop of water creating ever widening ripples, much like the lives and work of every member of the Mahidol family; together and individually they start each project on a small scale and proceed in steady steps, with the results of their work spreading outward until they touch and improve innumerable lives throughout the country.
The Hall of Inspiration consists of 7 rooms.
The Mahidol family
Introducing this small royal family, tracing its roots to the reign of Rama V and his Queen Sawang Vadhana, matriarch of the family. This rooms shows their various roles and their relations to the public, using the metaphor of a drop of water giving sustenance and well-being.
The Family History through the Eyes of the Princess Mother
Based on the concept that great things come from small beginnings, this room is presented through the biography of the Princess Mother. It shows her humble beginnings as a commoner from a poor family, how she strove to become a nurse, her marriage with H.R.H. Prince Mahidol Adulyadej, and the inspiration she gained from him. It tells how she passed that inspiration on to her children, and finally how she as Princess Mother became even more active in her quest to help her people.
The Return of the Mahidol family
The 1932 revolution ended the absolute monarchy and brought democracy to Thailand. Princess Srinagarindra, who had taken her family to grow up in Switzerland, was faced with a life-changing decision. From a simple life with her children far from the Palace, they had to return to Thailand, with one of them bearing full responsibility as rightful heir to the throne and King of the Thai people.
The People’s Suffering
The problems the Thai people faced are presented, problems that affect their environment and the quality of their life. In this room we discover how members of the Mahidol family worked to try to solve these problems, to bring about and improve the well-being and happiness of the people.
The Sustainable Model for Alleviation of the People’s Suffering
This room centers on His Majesty the King’s vision, principles and his approach to problems solving. This approach has always been in steps: (1) understand the problems (khao jai – understand); (2) go to the root of problem (khao thueng – reach); and (3) to apply appropriate development tools (phattana – develop). His Majesty has been working for decades using a number of simple tools and aides: maps, walkie-talkie, pencils and cameras.
The Doi Tung Model for Alleviation of the People’s Suffering
At 87, the Princess Mother initiated the Doi Tung Development Project. Inspired by the work of her son and adapting her own model to help alleviate the problems of poverty, opium growing and trafficking, opium growing and trafficking, deforestation, poor health, illiteracy, and many other social, economic, and environmental ills that she found when she came to Doi Ting. This practical approach also creates livelihood options that empower the people to become viable and self-supporting and enable them to live with dignity.
The Room of Inspiration
The final room reflects the warm relations of all 5 members of the Mahidol family and the Thai people and the positive and beneficial changes brought about by their work.
Continuing the metaphor of a drop of water from first room, a ripple is created within visitors are personally touched. As a result of this, they are then led to ask how they can use what they have learned today to change for the better not only their own lives, but those of other people as well. Can they in turn create their own drop of water that spreads its ripples ever wider?