The National Museum of Bhutan recognizes the critical role it plays not only as a cultural resource but also as an educational resource. Its mission is to increase awareness of Bhutanese heritage and traditions among Bhutanese people and international visitors alike. The Museum is also a resource for scholars of Himalayan culture and Mahayana Buddhism.
Museum Programs and Publications
For over a decade, the National Museum has played an important role in promoting the preservation and study of Bhutanese culture in all its forms both tangible and intangible. Beyond acting as a storehouse for Bhutan’s national treasures, the Museum has hosted many colloquia which have united leading Bhutanese scholars in an intensive academic environment where they share their knowledge, research and enthusiasm over a multi day period.
Some of the subjects of past colloquia have been:
1. The Intangible Culture of Bhutan:This symposium addressed such subjects as folk tales, traditional dance, cuisine, regional dialects.
2. Fortresses of Bhutan:Researchers presented their work on the architecture, function, and evolution of this most emblematic Bhutanese art form.
3. The Essence of Bhutanese Culture:This symposium looked behind what is visible on the surface to examine more subtle practices around traditional medicines, the preparation and lore of arra, death rituals, various new year’s celebrations, and the presence of local deities.
4. Soul and Substance of Bhutan: Scholars and local experts discussed the history of monasteries, the conservation of temples, the richness of Bhutanese performance arts,and the significance of Bhutanese masked dances.
At the conclusion of each meeting, the authors submit their studies for publication. Copies of the colloquium proceedings are available at the Museum shop.