Folk Heritage Museum located in Kawajangsa, in the heart of the capital city, Thimphu. It is within the walking distance of the National Library of Bhutan and the National Institute for zorig choesum (13 Traditional Arts). The Folk Heritage Museum dedicates itself to connecting people with the rich Bhutanese Folk heritage and rural history through exhibits, demonstrations, educational programs and documentation of Bhutanese rural life. The Museum will strive to disseminate the rich heritage across generations by preserving it in different forms.
Folk Heritage Museum is also known as Phelchey Toenkhyim was established on July 28th, 2001 with the initiative of the Queen Mother of Bhutan, Her Majesty Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck. It is dedicated to connecting people to the Bhutanese rural past through exhibits, demonstrations, educational programs and documentation of rural life. Her Majesty is also the founder and patron of the Museum.
Folk Heritage Museum is the oldest historical place in Bhutan. The Museum is more than 150 years old, and one can see that the rural setting and flavor has been well-preserved in addition to the paddy, wheat and millet fields that can be seen here. A traditional water-mill with mill stones, traditional style kitchen gardens with vegetables that were grown over the past 100 years and the famous traditional hot stone bath are also preserved. Native trees and plants that have domestic uses in Bhutanese rural households are being grown here in an effort to keep indigenous knowledge about the use of natural resources alive and to include a patch of greenery, right in the heart of the capital city of Thimphu.
The ground floor entrance to the farmhouse is accessible via a small, partially covered, stone courtyard used to store fire wood, farming equipment and grain. There is also an incense burner even today, for the daily burning of incense as an offering to the protective deities. The ground floor resembles a barn more than the entrance to a home as this is where farm animals are housed during the coldest periods of Bhutan’s harsh winters.
The next two levels of the house is accessible via steep, open-tread timber stairs in which visitors are advised to take caution while moving between floors. The second level of the farmhouse is used primarily as a safe store for grain and food. And on the third level, visitors will have reached the center of the family’s living and dining area. This is the only level of the homestead with heating, generated by a wood-fired stove set against an external wall in the separate kitchen area. Adjoining the kitchen is a living area and also where the entire, often large, family would have slept.
Visit to the Folk Heritage Museum is a unique experience because the principal exhibit of the museum itself is a restored three storied, traditional rammed mud and the timber house dating back to the mid 19th century. The form and the design of the house are that of a conventional; household in the Wang area of that era.