The Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre is home to a rotating display of informative and engaging exhibitions, offering a rare and fascinating insight into the diversity and richness of Laos’ ethnic cultures. Our exhibits feature objects from our museum collection, such as traditional handmade clothing and textiles, jewellery, handicraft and household tools, reconstructions of domestic scenes, as well as ritual and religious artefacts. A distinctive characteristic of TAEC’s exhibits are its linkages to local ethnic communities – displays feature quotes, photos and videos from our living resource persons.

Permanent Exhibitions

Currently on display at TAEC are permanent exhibits exploring the unique cultural aspects of four of Laos’ most well known ethnic minority groups: Akha, Hmong, Kmhmu and Tai Dam.

  • Akha: The Diversity of An Ethnic Group demonstrates the subtle differences between subgroups of the Akha people, and features a stunning headdress made from over 300 pieces of Indochinese era silver.
  • Hmong: New Years Celebrations offers an insight into the colourful courtship traditions of Hmong New Year.
  • Tai Dam: Handmade Bedding Materials recreates a traditional Tai Dam bedroom including a handmade mosquito net.
  • Kmhmu: Baskets and Back Strap Looms explores the versatility and beauty of bamboo basketry in a Kmhmu home.

Special Exhibitions

Carving a Community: The Katu People highlights the distinct cultural traits and crafts of the Katu residing in southern Laos and the central highlands of Vietnam. Intricate weavings and basketry and bold woodcarving created by the Katu people are highlights of the exhibit. Of special interest is the carved decoration of the Katu communal meetinghouse. Traditionally, the meetinghouse was the focal point of the village, where members of the community gather to carry out important rites, including buffalo sacrifice. Videos of this annual ritual and daily activities will allow visitors to witness the folkways of the Katu. This exhibit opens on 20 September 2013 and will be up for one year.

Special exhibitions are included in the general admission ticket to the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre.

Exhibition information is displayed in Lao and English, and translations are available free of charge from the ticket desk, in Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, and Spanish.

Visit the Visitor Information page for details on location, opening hours and services. Guided tours of the exhibitions are available, as well as in-depth seminars.

Past Exhibitions

From Courtship to Kinship: Wedding Celebrations of Laos’ Ethnic Groups provides a rare insight into the distinct wedding traditions of the Lao people and several of the country’s ethnic minorities such as the Hmong, Tai Phuan and Mien. It features unusual artefacts, such as a ‘wedding crown’ of the Kim Di Mun made of pure silver and human hair, stunning documentary photography of rituals and ceremonies, and explanations of the lore and symbolism of wedding customs in Laos. This exhibition opened on 15 September 2011 and will be on display for one year. For more information on this exhibition, please contact us.

Splendour and Sacrifice: Taoism of Northern Laos, a special exhibition at the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre from September 2009 - August 2011, offered visitors a glimpse into the religious life of the Mien and Mun Yao people.

The culmination of two years’ research, the exhibition explored the beliefs, rituals and precious religious artefacts of the Yao. Items on display included silk-embroidered priest’s robes, ceremonial masks and prayer books, a documentary video, and a recreation of an ordination ritual. The exhibition and research were funded by the Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation, through the US Embassy to Lao PDR. For more information on this exhibition, please contact us.

Gallery 1 of the TAEC permanent exhibition Kmhmu exhibition on basketry and backstrap looms Tai Lao and Yao Mun wedding costumes "From Courtship to Kinship" special exhibition