Opening of a New Exhibition “Our Common Heritage: Exploring the World Heritage Sites in Cambodia, Laos and Viet Nam” at the National Museum, Phnom Penh
The opening of a special exhibition entitled “Our Common Heritage: Exploring World Heritage Sites of Cambodia, Laos and Viet Nam” took place at the National Museum in Phnom Penh on 19 February 2013. This exhibition is the fruition of efforts made under the UNESCO-Japan Fund in Trust project, “Revitalizing World Heritage Site Museums in Cambodia, Laos and Viet Nam”. The project was launched on July 2011 followed by two regional workshops, the first in Hanoi ( in 2011) and the second in Siem Reap (in 2012), with participants from the nine museums – National Museum of Cambodia, Preah Norodom Sihanouk Angkor Museum, Angkor National Museum, Preah Vihear Eco Global Museum from Cambodia, Thang Long Imperial Citadel site museum, My Son Interpretation Center, Da Nang Cham Sculpture Museum, Ho Citadel site Museum from Vietnam, and Wat Phu Museum from Laos.
For Cambodia, this is the second inauguration of its kind - the first inauguration was held in December 2012 at the Preah Norodom Sihanouk Angkor Museum in Siem Reap. The other two exhibitions at Angkor National Museum and Preah Vihear Eco Global Museum were inaugurated this year as well. At the opening of the exhibition at the National Museum, Ms. Melea, a fourth year student at the University of Fine Art, expressed her pride of Cambodian cultural heritage, “It was great that we could display our achievement and heritage to an international audience. Such heritage has been kept in many museums in Cambodia, but not many people knew about it. Without this exhibition, information about these items could not be shown, and people would not know what rich heritage Cambodia has.”
The exhibition is composed of four groups of panels – The first introduces the concept of the World Heritage Convention, its history and the location of the participating World Heritage sites and museums, as well as the Outstanding Universal Values of these sites; the second and third panels will showcase the commonly developed themes such as “Nature and Myth” and “Trade and Exchange.” The last group shows a theme specially created by the national museum itself – Khmer Ornament.
The aim of this exhibition is to provide visitors with new narratives by shedding light on the historical interconnection between various World Heritage sites and related populations of sub-region. Mr. Chhotradet, another university student attending the exhibition, said, “This is a really special occasion for the international audience to get to know more about Khmer culture. I have been studying Khmer culture for a long time, and this exhibition really helped me understand more in-depth about what I have studied.” In addition to the exhibition, the National Museum of Cambodia, as well as other eight participating museums will run an educational program for school children until the end of June 2013. The exhibition will run until July 2013, and Cambodian and international audience alike are encouraged to come and explore!