School children with a woodcarving example at Shwe-nandaw Kyaung, 2019
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Preserving Shwe-nandaw Through a Child’s Eyes

School children with a woodcarving example at Shwe-nandaw Kyaung, 2019

Shwe-nandaw Kyaung has stood for nearly two centuries. Its gilded interiors and intricate woodcarvings make it one of the most visited tourist sites in Myanmar. The monastery’s conservation is complex, employing traditional crafts skills and protective measures to ensure the iconic site is protected for years to come. But the restoration project also includes engagement with a very important demographic: young people.

Since late 2017, WMF has organized interactive programming for high school students across Mandalay that aims to educate the next generation about Shwe-nandaw and encourage young people to consider jobs in the conservation field. Activities include presentations, site tours, and “treasure hunts” where students move around the monastery seeking answers from conservation staff.

MISA students learn about conservation, 2019
MISA students learn about conservation, 2019

Now the outreach program has expanded to include local elementary students. Earlier this month, Shwe-nandaw was visited by Mandalay International Science Academy. During their tour, students gained a greater understanding of Burmese history through the building, learned about the main threats to the monastery—fire, water, and unmanaged visitation—and discovered why Shwe-nandaw is so important.

After the visit, students created artwork illustrating their memories. Browse below to experience the conservation of Shwe-nandaw Kyaung through a child’s eyes.