You’d think a museum built by lawyers would be as dull or dreary as the paperwork. Complete with 4,000 exhibits (only a fraction of which are on display at any given time), the Tilleke and Gibbins Museum of Counterfeit Goods offers up a surprisingly broad view of the real versus the fake.
The collection began in the early 1980’s — you tend to collect these when you’re in the business of prosecuting counterfeiters — and opened its doors to the public in 1989. It is indeed open to the public, although you’ll need to make a reservation and show up at one of two predefined times during the week (see the directions for more information). You’ll also be told that while you may take pictures of most things, you may not take pictures of a few specific exhibits (which are marked by the classic ‘no pictures’ icon).
From the very beginning you can see the variety of things that have been copied. I couldn’t see anyone wearing some of the t-shirts displayed here — between displays of drugs and some oddball color schemes, very few of them should have had a place in someone’s closet.
One element I wish the museum would focus more on — the side-by-side comparison. In some cases the difference is so obvious it’s laughable, while in other cases the differences are only seen when the genuine article is next to it.
Some cases are obvious enough.
I hadn’t heard or seen any faux Lonely Planet books before — the story goes that the counterfeiters would scan the originals and print them off on lower-quality paper; when the book was updated, they’d simply put the new cover on the old book…
It helps to know the brand name of your raisins (the lighting is a little uneven, and the shiny boxes are almost identical)
In some cases you don’t need a sticker to tell you something is counterfeit.
While small, the museum packs in plenty of punch. The tour guide, a bilingual lawyer in the firm, is quite thorough in her explanations, though I do wish there was a bit more interactivity in the museum. All told, you’ll be in and out in about an hour with plenty of time for your next destination or two in Bangkok.
Name: The Museum of Counterfeit Goods (พิพิธภัณฑ์สินค้าปลอมและเลียน — note this may not help much, since it’s not listed anywhere on the outside. Try Supalai Grand Tower instead — ศุภาลัยแกรนด์ทาวเวอร์)
Address: Tilleke and Gibbins, Supalai Grand Tower, 26th Floor, 1011 Rama 3 Road, Chongnonsi, Yannawa (GPS: 13.683418,100.547582)
Directions: Start from MRT Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre. Take exit 1, then cross Rama IV via the pedestrian crosswalk. Cross over the next overpass, then make a U-turn at the bottom to head left. Walk a few hundred meters to the bus stop and jump on bus 205. The bus should stop across the street from the only building that’ll have 26 floors, or soi 50. Head up the crosswalk and up to the 26th floor for the law firm’s lobby.
If taking a taxi, tell the driver Rama III, soi 50 (Rama-sam soi ha-seep) — by the meter, it should be about 50 baht from Queen Sirikit MRT.
Hours: admission by appointment only — typically Monday afternoons at 2pm and Thursday mornings at 10am — book at least a day in advance Contact Piyawan at 02-653-5555 or [email protected] to set up an appointment — the further in advance the better.
Phone: 66 2653 5555