To celebrate the birthday of Queen Mother Norodom Monineath Sihanouk, the National Museum of Cambodia is playing host to an exhibition of "Khmer Statues Returned to the Kingdom of Cambodia". The six-month show will run from Tuesday, June 18 to December 18.

Museum director Chhay Visoth told The Post today that 99 pieces will be on display from tomorrow, each of them returned to Cambodia after being looted and taken abroad.

He explained that the displays will be rotated monthly, with the five stone sculptures, along with gold and bronze jewellery pieces, on display for the first month.

Since 1996, Cambodia has seen more than 800 pieces returned from overseas. Many of them have been recovered through the efforts of the government, while some have been returned by foreign powers or philanthropists, according to Visoth.

The museum director appealed to the public, especially Phnom Penh residents and students, to visit the exhibition, while acknowledging that the museum does not have the capacity to display all of the returned pieces.

Some of the returned pieces which will be on display from June 18 to commemorate the birthday of the Queen Mother. National Museum of Cambodia

“We aim to highlight some of the key items that we have recovered over the past decade. People can visit us and get to learn more about the museum and the work we do. This is especially important for members of the younger generations,” he said.

“Parents, especially those who live in Phnom Penh, should take this opportunity to encourage their children to love our Cambodian cultural heritage and play their part in its preservation,” he added.

A ticket to the museum, located near the Royal Palace, costs 500 riel for a Cambodian citizen. Visitors should dress appropriately, as the museum is a respectful place filled with antiques, Visoth appealed.

He suggested that visitors leave large bags at the entrance and requested that people do not consume food or drink inside the museum.

In order to prevent any damage, Visoth also reminded guests to not touch the items on display.