Revitalising World Heritage Site Museums for a Better Interpretation of Living Heritage Sites in Cambodia, Laos and Viet Nam: Training for World Heritage Site Museums (2011-2015)

Design by Pascal Khom Prom/UNESCO

The ever-growing global tourism and striking success of UNESCO World Heritage programme offer an ideal setting for site-related museums to play a pivotal role as mediator of peace and intercultural understanding, provider of quality educational contents for local and international communities, as well as agent of development. 

This two-phased UNESCO-Japan Funds-in-Trust programme was first designed in 2011 as a pilot project to accompany the process of revitalising the World Heritage site related museums and interpretation centres dedicated to archaeological sites of the three countries. The programme is aimed primarily for the development of professional skills of staff from these institutions, not only curators and conservators but also archaeologists and managers of the World Heritage sites. Ultimately, it aims to strengthen the regional network of site museums and professionals. 

The participants are to re-scope the mission of the World Heritage site related museums in the contemporary world, by means of collective reflection and practical exercise for the enhanced and holistic interpretation of collections, collection management, development of participative approach for local communities, and museum visitor studies.  

  • Phase 1 (2011-2013): Bringing together nine museum institutions from Cambodia, Laos and Viet Nam, the major achievement of the project included the production and the inauguration of sub-regional exhibitions, two intensive training workshops (November 2011 and May 2012), and the practical outputs of the capacity-building of museum professionals in research, exhibition planning, design and implementation in addition to related public programmes and information (e.g. education programme and exhibition catalogue).
  • Additional Phase (2014-2015): Aims to connect the site-related heritage professionals and local communities in developing joint programmes and activities to better preserve and protect monuments, relics and intangible cultural heritage of the sites surrounding communities. Through the participative "Photovoice" method, this process helps increase shared ownership of historical knowledge and deepen interpretation of regional heritage. Furthermore, it contributes to building the capacity of museum and heritage site staff in researching, collecting and interpreting living cultures in connection to their archaeological collections. 

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