This chapter discusses research undertaken into the developmental role of museums and heritage sites in Thailand and the Greater Mekong Subregion, a geographical area that also includes Cambodia, Laos PDR and Myanmar. It contextualizes an international project, the Lampang Temples Project, to explore the potential role that museums and heritage sites can play in place-based development work, particularly in an Asian context where sacred places are simultaneously valued by local members of the community and as desinations for religious pilgrims and international tourists. The discussion of the Lampang Temples Project is located within an understanding of the international discourse concerning the roles of museums in development, including those contributions to the discourse that have originated in the Asia-Pacific region. It is also situated within an understanding of the roles of international agencies and local governments in the promotion of programmes and infrastructure for the preservation of Buddhist heritage and the relationship of this development strategy with tourism. Furthermore, due to the participatory and observational experience of the authors in the Lampang Temples Project, the chapter also considers the issues involved in applying cross-cultural pedagogies to the management of cultural tourism sites, including UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The results of the Lampang Temples Project support the contention that colaborative training models and pedagogies can be adapted, provided that differing cultural contexts and suppositions are appropriately articulated and integrated. Further, it suggests that this type of collaborative approach to the management of cultural tourism sites has the potential to play an important role in Buddhist heritage development processes.
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