The Bank of Thailand (BOT), the central bank of the country, was founded in 1942 to deal with management the state’s currency, money supply, and other functions. In 1945, BOT moved into Bang Khun Phrom Palace where former Prince Paribatra Sukhumbandhu resided until his forced exile. Across Samsen Road from BOT’s headquarter, the national banknote printing plant was built right on the riverfront. The facility was in function until operations moved elsewhere, forcing the building to close. To commemorate its 75th anniversary, BOT decided to open a learning center and the printing plant was chosen as the site. In 2018, Bank of Thailand Learning Center opened its doors to the public, offering visitors a glimpse into its printing past and more.
The Bank of Thailand Learning Center was completely redesigned and made a 180 degrees turn from its high security past. What used to be a gated and enclosed complex is now an open space, welcoming all to enter. A wide plaza now greets all in the front. The learning center has two sections: Prince Vivadhanajaya Library and Bank of Thailand Museum. The library is an airy study space with stunning high ceilings and floor to ceiling glass windows. Natural light floods the space and offers members views of the Chao Phraya River. A co-working space encourages visitors to stay and complete their tasks. Traces of the old printing plant can be found in the form of a high security vault that is now filled with books, rather than the treasures it used to contain.
In the basement levels, the Bank of Thailand Museum seeks to educate the public on Thai mint and currency history. Guided tours take visitors through interactive exhibitions that allow visitors to touch old coins and trace their design on paper to bring home as commemoratives. Old banknote printing machines are on display for all to see the machinery required to create the notes in one’s wallets. In the last room, Bank of Thailand’s history and roles and responsibilities are clearly explained so visitors leave understanding about the institution’s significance in handling the country’s economy and financial sector.