Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre in Luang Prabang
If you are interested to learn about Laos’ ethnic groups, traditional lifestyles and handicrafts, the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre(TAEC) is the place to visit. TAEC is a museum dedicated to celebrating the ethnic cultures of Laos. The centre exhibits ethnic clothing, household objects and religious artifacts with detailed information and photographs. TAEC also features temporary exhibitions, tours and free activities for children.
TAEC is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and transmitting the cultural resources of Laos. The centre was founded in 2006 to provide accessible information about the ethnic people of Laos and their traditional arts. Income from tickets, donations and services go to the daily operation of the centre and developing activities that promote cultural diversity and preservation. Their work includes :
- Exhibitions that feature text, photographs and objects from villages throughout the north of Laos. Temporary exhibits highlight specific ethnic groups, themes and arts from northern and southern Laos. All information is presented in English and Lao and translations are available in French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese and Chinese.
- Research, preservation and documentation of ethnic cultures, developing close relationships with communities and documenting important festivals and rituals. The TAEC permanent collection consists of over 400 objects from 30 different ethnic groups held in trust for future generations.
- Education and outreach with Lao communities, especially schools and youth groups. TAEC is free for all Lao citizens and they regularly host children’s activities in the museum and in primary schools. TAEC also has a small library on ethnology, Laos, regional history and southeast Asian arts. Seminars are organized by special arrangement.
- Advocacy and livelihoods work, which is critical for ethnic communities who are among the poorest populations in Laos. TAEC’s museum shop promotes sustainable livelihoods based on the production of traditional handicrafts. By providing training and buying directly from the artisans TAEC supports fair prices for maximum benefits to the producer. Over 150 ethnic minority women, men and their families in 12 provinces derive income from TAEC.
The TAEC museum shop sells authentic handicrafts directly from ethnic artisans with 50% of the shop’s income going back to the villages. The shop also sells color photographs, postcards, books and jewellery.
La Patio Cafe, run by L’Elephant Restaurant, is the only restaurant in Lunag Prabang town with a full menu of ethnic minority food. You can try dishes like Akha meatballs, Hmong pork belly and Tai Lue fried rice. Vegetarian and set menus are also available.