Elephant Museum - Elephant Museum
The project intends to create the first "living" elephant museum in Laos to conserve both ancestral knowledge and elephants. Ideally located at the Elephant Conservation Center where visitors can observe live elephants that remain here for breeding purposes, the elephant museum will serve as an elephant information center.
Set in a traditional Tai Lue house that belonged to a famous elephant master of the Hongsa District, the elephant museum intends to protect the traditional mahout way of life through the conservation and restoration of ancient scripts, mahout equipment, artefacts, traditional herbal medicines and ritual objects. It also intends to transfer this wealth of knowledge to future generations of mahouts through the associated "Mahout School" at the Elephant Conservation Center.
The Elephant Museum will welcome national and international visitors and all material on display will be produced in three languages (Lao, English and French). Lao school children are considered a major target group for the museum. Schools from Sayaboury will be invited to visit the museum free of charge.
The objectives of the Elephant Museum are:
- To conserve traditional knowledge connected to elephant ownership.
- To inform visitors about elephant cultural associations in Laos, elephant biology and conservation issues.
Outside the building, we display the equipment traditionally used by Lao mahouts to capture and tame wild elephants. This includes a training cage ("Kuan"), buffalo skin lassos, clay figures of wild spirits, saddles, training hobbles, logging gear, etc. ElefantAsia will also produce 3D models showcasing various scenes of human-elephant relationships throughout the ages. The surroundings of the elephant museum will consist of botanical gardens where resident mahouts grow plants used in traditional medicine to treat elephants.
Interactivity will be central to the elephant museums concept. By establishing this museum as the core of the Lao Elephant Conservation Center, we will encourage visitors to admire live elephants kept at the Center (in the framework of ElefantAsia's Breeding programme) whilst learning about their past, present and future conditions.
Truly a "living" museum, the proposed project will strive to reach international quality standards. Using multimedia equipment and a database of elephant information gathered by ElefantAsia over ten years of research in Laos, the elephant museum intends to give visitors a true insight into the vanishing "elephant culture" of Laos.
Without immediate action, this "elephant culture" that forms an integral part of the nation's spirit could be lost forever. In response to these concerns about the future of the Asian elephant, ElefantAsia intends to safeguard elephants and their habitats and to find appropriate new roles for elephants in Laos. It is important to raise awareness of the need to protect the Asian elephant, as well as the biological heritage of Laos and the countries of the region. ElefantAsia, with its cultural approach to conservation, wishes to play an important role in raising regional and international awareness concerning the need to protect the Asian elephant. ElefantAsia will also promote cultural exchange and inter-cultural dialogue to ensure a happy future for the Asian elephant, which has played such an important role in all the region's cultures throughout history.
Have a look at our online elephant facts here.