Myanmar to honor U Thant with museum

YANGON, Myanmar — A home that once belonged to a former United Nations secretary-general, the late U Thant, is being restored and will open as a new museum in Yangon, Myanmar’s largest city.

Government officials, diplomats and members of U Thant’s family gathered Saturday at a ceremony at the home, a two-story yellow villa built in the 1920s and where he lived in the 1950s before serving as the U.N. chief. It is being renovated as part of an effort to preserve the colonial-era cityscape of one of Asia’s last untouched cities.

The museum is scheduled to open to the public in the coming months, said a statement from the Yangon Heritage Trust, which is chaired by Thant Myint-U, a Harvard-educated historian who is U Thant’s grandson.

“I hope that this is both about celebrating his life and his work, but also about reclaiming our past so that we can think a different way about (our) future,” Thant Myint-U said at the ceremony.

Yangon, Myanmar’s former capital, has been bypassed by the rapid modernization that has bulldozed the past in virtually every other Asian metropolis. Its cityscape is studded with hundreds of grand and humble buildings from the colonial era.

Now, as Myanmar opens its long-closed doors to the outside world after half a century of military rule, a major effort has been launched to preserve both Yangon’s architecture and atmosphere from rampant development and decay.

There are more than 180 structures on Yangon’s official heritage list, most of which are churches and Buddhist temples, pagodas and monasteries.

“The Yangon Heritage Trust hopes that this will be just the first of many similar projects to remember and recognize the contributions of the many Myanmar men and women who have worked for the betterment of the country,” the group said.

U Thant lived in the home from 1951 to 1957. At the time he was a top adviser to then-Prime Minister U Nu.

From 1957 to 1961, U Thant served as Myanmar’s representative to the United Nations, before serving as U.N. secretary-general from 1961 to 1971.

More in Local News

Herald photos of the week

A weekly collection of The Herald’s best images by staff photographers and… Continue reading

John Miller, congressman, author activist, has died

He was known for his dedication to the marine industry, energy and human rights.

Church takes a quiet, contemplative approach to worship

Alternative services at First Congregational Church of Maltby offer “a good deal of silence.”

Funds up for council vote would aid conservation district

District stands to receive an extra $1 million each year, if the County Council gives its approval.

Snohomish County hosts its annual Focus on Farming conference

The event features a trade show as well as talks on agriculture, jam-making and more.

Supportive housing for man accused in attacking his mother

Mental state impaired man’s ability to appreciate the wrongfulness of his actions, judge rules.

Lynnwood mayor challenged by councilman in general election

Three City Council members also are facing challengers on the Nov. 7 ballot.

‘Horrific’ child-porn case: Former Arlington man sentenced

Raymond Devore, arrested in 2015, had a cache of disturbing photos and video on his cellphone.

500 tires go up in flames at a store south of Everett

There were no injuries. And it was nowhere near as bad as that months-long tire fire in 1984.

Most Read