U.S. Ambassador Glyn T. Davies Announces Exhibition of Friendship:Great and Good Friends

In commemoration of 200 years of friendship between the United States and the Kingdom of Thailand, U.S. Ambassador Glyn T. Davies today announced the U.S. Government is organizing an exhibition at the Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles displaying the official gifts exchanged between the two nations at significant moments over the past 200 years.

The exhibition, titled Great and Good Friends, will be the marquee event to celebrate the bicentennial of U.S.-Thai relations. It will open March 21, 2018 and run through June 30, 2018.

“The Great and Good Friends exhibit pays tribute to the deep and enduring ties between the people of the United States and Thailand,” said Ambassador Glyn Davies. “Thailand was one of the United States’ earliest friends, and I strongly encourage you to visit the Queen Sirikit Museum and see first-hand how these gifts, over ten generations, helped cement that friendship.”

Great and Good Friends underscores the significant bilateral ties—in trade, education, health, and peopleto-people exchange—that helped established Thailand as America’s oldest treaty ally in the region. The exhibition will feature royal gifts from Their Majesties King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Queen Sirikit, King Prajadhipok, King Chulalongkorn, and King Mongkut to and from respective American presidents. Most of these gifts have never been seen by the public, and many will be displayed in Thailand for the first time. The gifts tell a story of two worlds uniting on the basis of goodwill and understanding.

The exhibition represents unprecedented cooperation between leading Thai and American cultural institutions, including contributions from the Smithsonian Institution, the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration and its presidential libraries, the Library of Congress, King Prajadhipok’s Institute, the National Museum Bangkok, the Thai Department of Fine Arts, and the Thai Film Archive. Only a few of the 79 items that will be included in the exhibition have ever been displayed in public.

The story of the U.S.-Thai relationship began two centuries ago when an American sea captain entered the port of Bangkok and initiated a historic friendship between the two nations. At that time the U.S. was a young republic with little political experience beyond the Atlantic Ocean. The Chakri Dynasty was similarly learning to navigate a new world, one that included strong European adversaries with colonial ambitions. Situated on opposite sides of the globe, they were not the most likely allies.

The American ship captain returned to the U.S. with a letter addressed to President James Monroe from Dit Bunnag, the Foreign Minister, conveying the wishes of His Majesty King Rama II to establish trade between the United States and the Kingdom of Siam. That letter dated August 15, 1818, marks the beginning of a friendship that brought our two great nations into first official contact, laying the foundation for a vital and enduring alliance—one that remains strong today. That alliance led to a relationship that remains one of our most important in Southeast Asia.

Great and Good Friends was made possible through partnership with the exhibition venue, the Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles, support from the Bureau of the Royal Household and from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and project partners Meridian International Center and International Cultural Promotions. The exhibition would not have been possible without the generous support from: 

  • Presenters: Amata B. Grimm Power, Amway, Chevron, CP Group, SCG / Dow, Siam Piwat / ICONSIAM, and Thai Beverage 
  • Co-Presenters: O-I / Berli Junker Company / Big C, and RMA Group 
  • Sponsors: American Chamber of Commerce, Conrad Hotel, John F. Kennedy Foundation of Thailand for Thai-American Friendship, Jim Thompson, McThai, Major Cineplex, and VGI Global Media 
  • Contributors: Tilleke & Gibbins, and the U.S.-ASEAN Business Council 
  • Partners: Meridian International Center, International Cultural Promotions, and Google

FOR MORE INFORMATION: www.greatandgoodfriends.com Instagram: #greatandgoodfriends