An exhibition emphasising the common history of Southeast Asian heritage sites will be opened by UNESCO at the National Museum in Phnom Penh today.
The installation, titled “Our Common Heritage: Exploring the World Heritage Sites in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam”, is part of a regional drive by UNESCO to revamp Southeast Asian museums.
The organisation held two workshops in 2011 and 2012 with staff from nine museums across the region and global exhibition experts, aimed at improving professional skills and information displays.
The group, which also included curators and directors from museums at Angkor Wat and Preah Vihear, Vat Phou in Laos and My Son, Thang Long Citadel and Ho Citadel in Vietnam, created the exhibition, which will run in Phnom Penh until July.
In addition to a focus on the region’s shared heritage, under the themes “Nature and Myth” and “Trade and Exchange”, it will feature an explanation of objects seen in the museum such as the uniquely Cambodian Kbach or ornamentation motifs used to decorate objects since the Angkorian period.
Five museums in Laos and Vietnam will feature almost identical exhibitions.
“This is really the first project of this kind in the region,” said UNESCO culture specialist Philippe Delanghe.
“We are trying to connect nine different heritage site museums in the region. And we hope also that by having such an exhibition that links all these sites in a different way, people will be able to follow this trail in the future,” he added.
“There was a connection between all these sites in the past, and we want people to understand how the sites were connected to one another, and connected to the populations.”
The exhibition was installed at Siem Reap’s Preah Norodom Sihanouk-Angkor Museum in December and will be opened in Preah Vihear Eco Global Museum and Angkor National Museum later this year.
To contact the reporter on this story: Laura Walters at [email protected]