Right from the start of our stay in Bangkok, we had heard about the Jim Thompson House and museum, so we just had to go see it.
Born in 1906 in Greenville, Delaware, Jim Thompson was a trained archetect. He volunteered for the U.S. Army during World War II, eventually ending up in Asia. Thompson fell in love with Thailand , deciding to live there permanently. In 1958 he began building his home, partly to display his collection of Thai art. Many feel that a highlight of his collection are the six antique (all at least two centuries old) teakwood houses that were dismantled from remote locations and then reassembled on the present site. The largest of these houses became his living room. Adhering to Thai customs, Thompson had the houses elevated a full story above the ground to avoid the rainy season flooding. A number of the relocated houses became service quarters. While the chandeliers are a bit more modern, they came from 18th and 19th century Bangkok palaces.
Thompson's attention was drawn to the ancient art of hand weaving of silk, a long-neglected cottage industry. He spent the rest of his life trying to revive the craft. He was considered to be a highly gifted designer and textile colorist. His devotion to this effort is credited with the substantial growth of this industry along with the worldwide recognition of Thai silk.
While on a visit to the Cameron Highlands in Malaysia on March 26th, 1967, Thompson mysteriously disappeared. No valid clues as to what may have happened to him has ever surfaced. His nephew donated the property to the Thai Kingdom in the 1970's.