National Museum Needs Immediate Repairs

45,643 Inbound tourists Visit the Cambodia’s National Museum during eight months period early the year 2011, according to the National Museum Ticket Selling Agent Ms. Yin Leang.

Within this month on average more than 200 international tourists visit the Museum per day, the ticket selling staff said on September 21. “Visitors tend to pour heavily to the Museum in September, November, and December which is the high season for international tourist arrivals to Cambodia.”

The Museum is open seven days per week, from 8 A.M to 5 P.M, and the entrance fee for international visitor is US$ 3 dollars and 500 riels for Cambodian, according to her.

What are the treasures stocked in the Museum?

To date, over 17,000 Khmer heritage materials left from Khmer Kingdoms many centuries ago have been kept in this Museum including statues, artificial stones, metals, silvers, cloths, jewelries, primitive home appliances, and many others historical treasures, said Kep Sovann, Administration Official of the National Museum.

The National Museum of Phnom Penh has the responsibility to preserve and exhibit the Cambodian treasures to the public. Its collections can be divided into four main categories: stone, metal, wood and ceramics.

Despite damage, the works still possess important values relating to art, history and religion, document from the National Museum states.

The document added, the most representative objects in each category reveal both Khmer identity and style. The study of these masterpieces shows that Khmer artisans did not just copy Indian art (in spite of the influence of Indian civilization) but created a completely original art with its own character.

About 80 Khmer cultural treasures remain missed abroad

More than 80 Khmer treasures have been smuggled abroad, but the Cambodian authority, along with the UNESCO are working hard to get them back home.

“Before, more than 100 Khmer treasures have been lost abroad via smugglings, and illegal dealing, but recently due to the government effort, along with UNESCO assistances, and awareness from foreigners who illegally own the materials, we are now receiving them back and keep in our national cultural legacy stock (Museum).” said the official.

He added that: “From the remaining documents and researches, around 80 more statues, and historical materials missed overseas, we hope to see and bring them back home.”

Since the kingdom is now the Vice-President of the UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee (WHC), we have to make it rush to conquer back our great treasures, Sovann emphasizes.

“We are apparently working on the “Red Book”—the document to identify Khmer treasure lists, and those which remain missed abroad.”

With the completion of the Red Book, he said, Cambodia is legally capable to claim back those missed treasures while their locations have already been identified.

The National Museum management

Anyway, currently , the national Museum so as the ticket selling is governed by the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, but from February 2012 on, the ticket selling tasks will be completely authorized by the Ministry of Economy and Finance, according to him.

Remark form international visitor

Michel Portal, 52, a French Tourist visiting the National Museum as his first time said he is so pleasant to view this conserved museum where is home to thousands of priceless Cambodian cultural heritages.

“I like watching the fine decorations on the Hinduism statues which have left for centuries, but remain neatly looked” said Portal that will stay in Cambodia for 15 days and arrive the Museum in his day 2 trip.

This French tourist strongly encourages Cambodia to conserve this wonderful museum, which stockpiles the Cambodian priceless treasures, and maintain the building last longer. One day in the future, he will visit this museum in the second time but with his family.

History of the Museum

So far, the Museum is 90 years old since its inauguration in 1920 by the French Colony which comply with “traditional Khmer” architecture. the Building is now suffered from gradual ruins in some parts like the northern stairs, wall and the roof, said Kep Sovann, Without immediate repairs, he said: “the Museum will be seriously ruined and possibly collapsed for some parts.”

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