The Bangkokian Museum is under threat from nearby development and the museum's former landowner has pumped B30 million into a campaign to save it.

Matichon Online reports that a property developer intends to build an eight-story residential building on the plot of land adjacent to the museum's compound of four Thai houses dating back to the 1930s. 

A new building of such height could have a devastating effect on the green scenery around the museum, according to Assoc. Prof. Varaporn Suravadee, the original owner of Bangkokian Museum's land. In an effort to prevent the construction, Varaporn has put B30 million of her own money into a campaign to buy the adjacent land back from the developer.

The move follows the Bangkok Metropolitan Authority's (BMA) rejection several months earlier of her request that the BMA purchase the plot of land on which the disputed building might now be built. At the time, she also cited concerns that it could disrupt the cool air in the area and that its construction posed a risk to old buildings with conservation status.

The Bangkokian Museum sits in a group of four upper-middle-class family houses, built around the 1930s. The compoound is noted for its Western design influences merged with Thai architecture, as well as its verdant green surroundings. 

Varaporn transferred full ownership of the land to the BMA in 2004, when it became part of the city's local museum network. 

Despite her donation of B30 million, she is still in need of a further B10 million by Sep 2 if her bid to purchase the land is to be successful, Matichon reports.

The museum is asking for B100 contributions from the public in order to raise the extra money, which can be donated through its bank account. (Call 02-233-7027 to find out details.)

This Saturday Jul 23, the museum will also hold a special event titled "Rescuing the Bangkokian Museum," during which a panel discussion will talk on the crisis and the future of local museums, attended by Varaporn and Rapeepat Getgoson, an officer from Thai Tourism Society, a non-profit organization for local tourism development.

The Bangkokian Museum is dedicated to the historic everyday life of Bangkok. It displays items such as dinner sets, books, perfume bottles, and toiletries dated back almost 100 years. One of the buildings also houses a permanent exhibition on Bangkok history and urban development. 

It welcomes over 700 visitors each month and does not charge for admission.