Folk Heritage Museum - Where the Future Learns from the Past

Folk Heritage Museum – Where the Future Learns from the Past

A group of kindergarten children from Happy Feet ECCD in Motithang were seen playing and laughing under the guidance of their teachers on June 7th, 2024, at the Folk Heritage Museum (FHM) at Kawajangsa. However, they had not come for fun only. The young explorers were brought on a field trip to educate them on Bhutan’s culture.

“It is important to teach kids about their roots and the transitions to the present day,” said Karma Phuntsho, co-founder of Happy Feet ECCD. “If we don’t introduce them to these rich values and traditions of our ancestors, it will be difficult for them to learn about it later, as these items are becoming rare. There is no better place than the Folk Heritage Museum to teach children; we can find everything here, from utensils and traditional games to our dress and kitchen setup.”

Happy Feet ECCD, organized this trip as part of their “My Village” theme. The initiative aims to immerse children in the rich cultural heritage of Bhutan, ensuring they understand their roots and the transition to modern times

When asked about the impact on the children, Mr. Karma shared that it really depends on the individual, as brain development differs for each child. “This is an opportunity for them to learn and grow. When we shared the pictures from their trip with the parents, they were very happy. Some parents mentioned that their kids expressed joy and excitement about the visit. Through these experiences, the children will learn and grow. Even a small impact is significant. At least now they will have an idea that their grandparents and forefathers lived like that.”

Mr. Karma emphasized that continuous teaching is essential for these lessons to be imprinted in the children’s memories. “It definitely depends on the parents, teachers, and schools after they graduate from ECCD to make them learn more about it and leave a lasting impact,” he added.

The field trip was filled with hands-on learning experiences. The children explored traditional Bhutanese kitchens, examined ancient utensils, and even tried their hand at traditional games. The vibrant displays at the Folk Heritage Museum provided a tangible connection to the past, making the lessons both engaging and memorable.

As the children moved from one exhibit to another, their curiosity and excitement were evident. Teachers guided them through the various sections, explaining the significance of each artifact and how it was used in daily life in the past. The interactive approach helped the young learners grasp the importance of preserving their cultural heritage.

The Folk Heritage Museum, with its extensive collection of artifacts, served as the perfect backdrop for the educational outing. It offered a comprehensive glimpse into Bhutan’s past, showcasing everything from traditional dress to household items and religious altars.

According to Karma, Happy Feet ECCD’s commitment to holistic education, combining classroom learning with real-world experiences, continues to set a benchmark in early childhood education. “Through initiatives like this, we ensure that the youngest members of society grow up with a deep appreciation for their cultural legacy,” he said, adding the FHM is one of the best places to teach and also learn.

Meanwhile, a civil service who did not want to be named said he was “embarrassed about a month back.” “I went to the Folk Heritage Museum with some friends for lunch. As my friends had not reached, I went around, including the Heritage house. I was shocked seeing our entire past there.”

He added that right after he reached home in the evening he told his children that he would take them to a “magical place.” “They asked where and I said to the FHM. And I was again embarrassed. They had gone there three times,” he said. “The trips they made had not only educated them, but instilled a sense of pride in our cultural heritage,” he said. “But I don’t think I am the only one who has either not been there or gone just recently. Every family should go with their children and it is encouraging to know that schools organize such trips,” he said.

Further, he said many Bhutanese think that the FHM is only for tourists. “I want to reiterate; every Bhutanese should visit the FHM. Further, tour operators should also take tourists there. The Department of Tourism (DoT) should support through dissemination of information. For me, it is one of the must visit places in Thimphu and Bhutan.”

By Sonam Lhamo, Thimphu