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Chiang Sean Hall of Opium
The Hall of Opium draws visitors into the mysterious world of opium, taking them on a 'journey' that sheds light on the more than 5,000 years of use and abuse of opiates dating back to pre-historic times, its continued use in pharmaceutical preparations and medicine for the treatment of ailments and international efforts to control illegal drug abuse. Case studies help visitors to understand the problems of addiction and choices available to fight the temptation of drugs.
Every step of the way through the 5,600 sq-metre world-class exhibition area within the Hall of Opium, the information is presented through the dramatic use of state-of-the-art multimedia innovation and is vivid and poignant. The use of engaging audio-visual presentations and interactive displays, coupled with dynamic spatial design, work together to enlighten and provoke thought.
The Hall of Opium at the Golden Triangle Park also incorporates an information centre for research and extension education on opium, opiates and other narcotics.

Exhibition
While the lives of many hill tribes people in the Golden Triangle depended on opium production and trade, opium is essentially an economic crop -- not intrinsic to the indigenous culture. This therefore made it easier to address and resolve. The approach adopted for the exhibition has been to present these aspects of the opium story as two distinct and separate elements.

Entrance Tunnel
You venture through a 130-metre Entrance Tunnel that passes through a hill, lighting, sound, and special effects such as the occasional impressionistic images conveyed in the form of bas-relief and projections that appear on the walls, ceiling and floor of the tunnel, draw you deeper into the dark realm of the world of opium. The 'journey' begins with the mystery associated with The Golden Triangle, and progresses through the range of contradictory moods and feelings generally associated with opium, morphine and heroine.

Introduction Hall
At the exit the tunnel, you step past a symbolic 'golden triangle', you enter a bright and airy Lobby. Cast your eyes beyond a small valley, a Scenic View of a small poppy field similar to those planted by some of the hill-tribes in the region lies before you.
Introductory displays in the lobby feature the opium poppy and its products, and drug production in the Golden Triangle. A variety of poppies are presented in glass-enclosed areas, intended as a greenhouse for the cultivation of opium poppies throughout the year, when appropriate.
The first display consists of dried or imitation opium poppies in various stages of growth and harvesting, together with botanical drawings of the Opium Poppy (Papaver somniferum) and pictures and descriptions of the main products derived from the plant.
Another display presents some of the 100+ other Papaver species as well as other plant genera that are commonly referred to as poppies.

Auditorium
This is a brief multimedia presentation which provides an introduction to the exhibition and the key facilities, and presents an overview of illegal opium production and use in the Golden Triangle and around the world.

First 5,000 Years
The history of the first 5,000 years of opium starting out with the origins of the opium poppy along the Mediterranean and the first archaeological evidence in Switzerland, and the spread of the use of opium to various parts of the world. The first references of opium in Sumerian medicinal text. The medical and ritual use in Ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt .The use of opium in Europe and the Americas from the Middle Ages until the 18th century. The spread of the use of opium to South and East Asia by 1,000 AD

Dark and Bright Hallway
You pass through a short "dark and bright hallway" in which the contrasting characteristics of opium are presented. On the one hand, the plant and products derived from the plant offer great benefits to humans, while on the other, it can also cause devastating suffering, thereby highlighting the fact the real problem lies in the abuse of the plant.

From West to East
A major change in opium use and abuse occurs when it becomes a major commercial commodity along with the expansion of Western imperialist trade. The trade in opium shifted from a minor trade item used as a medicine to a major commodity - an addictive substance sold mainly by western traders with an assured market among predominantly Asian addicts, resulting in drastic consequences.
It is believed that the British habit of tea consumption was a key factor leading to this change. It can be argued that the widespread British addiction to tea led to a large-scale Chinese addiction to opium.
Trade between China and the West was highly unbalanced. While the West bought silk, porcelain and tea from China, there was little Chinese demand for British manufactured goods or products from western countries. Goods exported from China had to be paid for in silver in the form of Spanish silver coins.
By the late 1700's, the British discovered that one product they could sell to the Chinese to redress the imbalance in trade was opium produced in the new British colony of India.
Embark a voyage from Britain in the West to China in the East. The voyage starts in a London dock where the East India Company dominates the trade in tea, spices, silk, and porcelain from the East, and the export of manufactured goods, mostly cloth and metalware to India.
The journey begins in the interior of a ship of the late 1700's. It was part war-ship to fend off attacks from other western nations and fight native populations who might object to "free trade". Halfway through the journey, the interior changes into a 19th century clipper ship. Clipper ships were the fastest sailing ships ever built, used for high value trade that needed to be transported in the shortest time possible to prevent spoilage, or avoid embargoes, or capture.
While the opium that was sold to China and the other countries of Southeast and East Asia came from India, the government did not export the opium officially, and ships flying the British flag were prohibited from shipping opium. Ships registered elsewhere, but owned and operated by British companies, dominated the opium trade.
The journey ends in Canton harbour - the only Chinese trading port open to foreigners until 1842. Opium was banned by the Chinese government so it was unloaded into small boats and smuggled into Canton and along the border.
By the early 17th century, opium-smoking in China had become prevalent. Smokers began to mix tobacco imported from the Americas with opium. When an Imperial Edict banned tobacco smoking in 1729, people began to smoke pure opium. The addictive habit spread quickly, to all levels of society throughout the country.

Opium Wars
The opium trade led to confrontation and eventually wars between China and Britain, and later other western powers. Key figures involved in the conflict are depicted, some as life-size figures. Others in pictures and photographs. Quotations of the individuals depicted offer insight into their opinions and their stand on the conflict.
The political, economic and social impact of the Opium Wars led to several significant developments in history. The wars are believed to have precipitated the long decline of the Manchu dynasty, culminating in the foundation of the republic in 1911, and the People's Republic of China in 1949.
It led to the forced opening of several "treaty ports" and the economic control of China by the Western powers, leading to the establishment of Hong Kong and 156 years of British rule over the Chinese territory. The "open" trade led to a drastic expansion of opium smoking.

Opium in Siam
There is a section of the exhibition presenting the history of legal opium in Siam. Siam is selected as a representative of the extensive legal opium production, trade, and use in the 19th and early 20th century Asia. The roles of the Western traders, government tax collectors, and Chinese and local addicts are shown.
This also displays depict a mock-up of a late 19th century opium den in a Sino-Thai urban area, opium processing, and the development of crafts used in opium-smoking such as pipes, opium weights, pillows, and other items associated with opium consumption.

19th Century Medicine
The scientific advances in 19th century Europe led to the isolation of morphine, the development of heroin, and the invention of the hypodermic syringe to facilitate the application of these drugs.
Heroin became widely-used as a supposed non-addictive cough suppressant (in place of codeine) and a pain reliever (in place of morphine), until it was discovered to be equally if not more addictive than the other opiates. Morphine, cocaine, and a hypodermic syringe to inject the drugs, were often included in home and emergency medical kits of the late 1800s.
Another form of addiction in the Western world took the form of addiction to these pain killers and the many other pharmaceutical and patent medicines that included opium and other narcotics.

Prohibition and Crime
In this triangle-shaped room, the key aspects that shaped the 20th century approach to opium and other narcotics are presented using high-tech interactive displays. The various aspects featured include:
The movement to prohibit opium, culminating in international treaties and national laws controlling opiate use and prohibiting illegal production, trafficking, sale and use.
The relationship between opium/drug and crime; control by crime syndicates, political corruption, and worldwide efforts to control trafficking from the fields where the opium is grown to the streets where it is sold to addicts.
The connection between war and opium production, in particular the growth of opium production in the Golden Triangle after World War II.

Hall of Reflection
The "Hall of Reflection" is a quiet room where visitors can reflect on what they have seen. Quotations from famous individuals such as religious leaders, philosophers, and world leaders on the value of leading a life of moderation (free from drugs or other forms of abuse) are depicted. Paintings and sculpture on display create a sense of calm, aiding reflection.

What Can I Do
This final section provides information and brochures on various ways in which individuals throughout the world endeavour to solve the problem of illegal drugs, so one can decide how to contribute to the effort.

 
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