Siriraj Medical Museum
2 Wanglung Road, Khwaeng Siriraj, Khet Bangkok Noi
The Bangkok Medical Museum, also known as Museum of Death, is located within Thailand’s oldest hospital, which is situated along the Chai Praya River’s western bank. It is one of the most unusual and sinister museums in the capital, or indeed the country, but its exposition is interesting not only for those who are keen on medicine, but also for lovers of simple sensationalist gore.
The Siriraj hospital was originally founded by King Rama V in 1888, two years after a brutal cholera epidemic ravaged through almost the whole world. It was named in honor of the late one-and-a-half-year-old son of the monarch, Prince Siriraj Kakuttaphan, who had tragically died of dysentery just a year before the hospital was opened. It has since become one of the leading scientific and educational centers in Southeast Asia.
Nowadays, the Medical Museum functions on its premises. It showcases a huge number of exhibits, including medical equipment and instruments and anatomical and clinical samples, which illustrate the history of Thailand’s modern medicine in one way or another. There are six permanent expositions: Anatomy, Inherent Anomalies, Forensic Medicine, Pathologies, Thai Traditional Medicine, and Toxicology.
This Bangkok museum features a vast collection of unique medical cases that impress not only professionals, but also people who have little to do with medicine at all. Its halls house more than a hundred human bodies, several thousand separate organs with traits of various pathologies, as well as a vast collection of human embryos and infants, all of which contain pathologies of intrauterine development. In addition, exhibits include detailed models of human bodies and modern multimedia medical equipment.
The section focussing on forensic medicine traditionally enjoys the greatest interest from the side of the visitors. It features exhibits connected with murder and suicide, as well as untimely and natural death. They include skulls, skeletons and organs, which show the evidence of various injuries. You can also see the autopsy tools that were used to establish the cause of death of King Rama VIII. Yet the most popular exhibit is the mummified remains of the first cannibalistic serial killer in the history of modern Thailand. After he was convicted and executed, his body was mummified and put on display as a deterrent against violent crime.
A further section, dedicated to the history and development of Thai traditional medicine, is very popular too. You can see interesting instruments and learn about the peculiarities of Thai massage there too.