Foundation for Southeast Asian Art and Culture records, 1954-2002 and undated

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Source Collection

This digital collection comprises selected materials from the following archival collection at Duke University Archives:

Foundation for Southeast Asian Art and Culture records 1954-2002 and undated

Collection #RL.01441 | 26.9 Linear Feet; 15,500 Items

On a 1957 trip to India and China, Doris Duke stopped in Thailand, and it is likely that the exploration of Bangkok and its art and architecture she saw on that visit inspired her to dream of creating a Thai village in Hawaii with houses similar to those she had seen. In December of 1960, she formally hired François Duhau de Berenx to help bring it to pass. The Thai House Foundation was established on January 30, 1961; the name was changed to the Foundation for Southeast Asian Art and Culture (SEAAC) in June of that same year. The establishment of the Foundation resulted in a project that Doris Duke saw as a gift to Hawaii, and one that occupied her for many years. At least five sites in Hawaii were considered for the Thai Village and it was the choice of an appropriate location that ultimately proved the stumbling block to completion of the project. Although her dream of a Thai Village was never fulfilled, Doris Duke's interest in Asia continued, as she continued purchasing objects right up until her death in 1993. In 2002, a significant portion of the collection was donated to two museums distinguished for their collections of Southeast Asian art; the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco and the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore. The collection documents the establishment and management of Doris Duke's Foundation for Southeast Asian Art and Culture (SEAAC). Records in the Administrative series document the purchase and transport of art objects and building parts, Doris Duke's attempts to locate a site for the Thai Village, and the financial records associated with the daily operations and management of the foundation and its assets. The Photograph series consists primarily of black and white images of the art objects and building parts purchased for SEAAC, with some images of houses in Bangkok and other Thai buildings, which served as the inspiration for the Thai Village. The architectural records in this collection include various drawings of the proposed village site and plans for the various buildings that were to be constructed.

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