Virtual Hilltribe Museum

The cultures of highland ethnic minorities in Southeast Asia are changing rapidly as the hilltribe people become more incorporated into the lowland majority societies. The Virtual Hilltribe Museum is geared to documenting these cultures and their changes for the world to see.

The Lahu grandmother in this picture tells the story. She is holding a bamboo container as she prepares to take part in a hand-washing ceremony to bless her village's new temple. But instead of dressing herself in the intricately decorated clothes of a Red Lahu woman, she is wearing a Spiderman t-shirt. Yes, the cultures of hilltribe people are in transition.

The Virtual Hilltribe Museum ( has as its goal to document and make available for public edification the cultural transition of highland ethnic minorities in Southeast Asia, especially Thailand. The Museum focuses on both the traditional ways of life and the manner in which the hilltribe peoples have adapted and integrated with majority cultures. The project also hopes to attract an audience among hilltribe youth in urban environments throughout Southeast Asia and even America who no longer have the time, access or interest to receive the oral traditions of their cultures from elders.

The Virtual Hilltribe Museum is sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation's Mekong Sub-Region Project..


Local employment

    • Handicraft artisans

      The eBannok Handicrafts project has been running for over a decade, employing local Akha women to make whistles in the design of local birds. The chance of employment gives the women an independent...

    • Outdoor programme

      Our Outdoor Volunteer Programme employs members of the Akha, Lahu, and Karen tribes, all of whom have an intimate knowledge of the local environment and cultures. The construction and renovation...

    • Trekking guides

      Our Ecotours project runs trekking and homestay programmes, visiting local hilltribe communities. The guides we employ are all local hilltribe members, who live in the villages we work with. This...

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