Our Heritage Programme aims to preserve the legacy of U Thant by maintaining his former residence as a centre for learning and dialogue and through related projects such as the renovation of his mausoleum or the creation of a digital archive of his writing and communications to be made available for students and researchers in Myanmar.

 

In addition to the basic maintenance needs of U Thant House, future projects requiring support include a visitor centre with improved amenities, an auditorium to increase capacity, and a garden landscaping plan to highlight pressing environmental issues.

 

Future Plans

 

  • Basic Maintenance - The upkeep of U Thant House requires continual maintenance, especially in Myanmar’s damp and humid climate. Six years after the initial renovation, the building’s facade needs to be repainted. The house also needs to be kept safe from falling trees and branches, and investments are required for furniture and equipment. There are several areas of the property in which work has not yet been completed due to lack of funds: surface treatment of the outside patio, ground treatment and landscaping near the garage, and improvements to the caretakers’ house, among others.

  • Activity and Work Space - Improved facilities for U Thant House would include retrofitting the existing garages to create an Activity Space large enough to receive larger school groups, toilets for visitors, and to serve as a place for temporary exhibitions and an office for staff.

  • U Thant Auditorium - A modest new annex would include a small auditorium (capable of holding an audience of 70), digital library, bookstore, and café to enable the holding of seminars and educational programmes throughout the rainy season and make U Thant House more sustainable and self-sufficient (during the monsoon season the house is limited to its current in-door meeting-room capacity of 25 persons).

  • U Thant Mausoleum - Currently closed to visitors due to structural deterioration of the 45-year-old building at the foot of Shwedagon Pagoda, U Thant’s final resting place is in need of renovation to make it safe for visitors wishing to pay their respects.

 

  • U Thant Archive - U Thant House aspires to being the repository of U Thant’s papers, writings, personal belongings, and relevant audio-visual materials to enable biographical and thematic research. U Thant is the only Secretary-General whose papers have not yet been collected and made accessible by a library.

  • U Thant Garden - To honour U Thant’s early advocacy for the safeguarding of the earth’s finite resources, the garden (1.5 acres surrounding the house) would be transformed into an experimental learning landscape that can teach about biodiversity and environmental challenges and inspire people to take action in their daily lives. As a place of learning and reflection, the garden would be planted with indigenous plants, trees, and a kitchen garden, with garden trails and educational and interactive installations and art.