Cambodia commemorates the 101st anniversary of the National Museum of Cambodia

To celebrate the 101st anniversary of the establishment, the National Museum of Cambodia organized an online exhibition, live streamed on the Facebook page of the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts on the 13th of April 2021. The event joined some 270 viewers, featuring stories on the permanent collection, the history of the museum, and selected 40 cultural objects (sculptures, jewelries, photographs and archives). This event provided viewers a glimpse of some outstanding objects dating back to the Angkorian and post-Angkorian period. In addition, a virtual tour of the museum was introduced, focusing on the history of the museum, in particular the activities since 1920.

Four main speakers provided delivered speeches on the cultural objects during the online exhibition event: Mr. Chhay Visoth, Director of the National Museum, Ms. Oun Sokuntheavy, Deputy director of the Museum, Mr. Sok Soda, Deputy Director of the Museum, and Mr. Chea Socheat, Chief of Conservation Office.


During the opening, Mr. Chhay Visoth, Director of National Museum, expressed his special thanks to the French founder, Mr. George Groslier, and to the donors and partners, especially the French institute of Cambodia, French Embassy to Cambodia, the Ecole Française d’Extrême Orient (EFEO) for their significant contributions to the museum especially to identify and reveal the objects’ meaning and history. He went on explaining the history of the Museum, which was inaugurated in 1920 under the French Protectorate.

Ms. Oun Sokuntheavy, Deputy director of National Museum of Cambodia, underlined the key roles of the National Museum in the Cambodia’s history:



“The National Museum is the biggest museum in Cambodia, storing over 1 000 cultural objects. Closed during the Khmer rouge regime, the museum reopened in 1979 with the aim to collect cultural objects from provinces and foreign countries where they were kept illegally. This is a precious heritage for Cambodians, especially researchers, students and humanity as a whole.”

She expressed her invitation to Cambodians to visit the National Museum, when the situation permits, where cultural objects, exclusive photographs and archives on the history of the museum are displayed to celebrate the 101 years of the National Museum in Cambodia.

© National Museum

The Duryodhana statue:

One can find at the Museum the returned statue of Duryodhana, which was housed in the western gopura of Prasat Chen at Koh Ker in the second quarter of 10th century. This is made of sandstone and returned in 2014.

UNESCO 1970 Convention:

UNESCO has been playing a very important role in assisting the Royal Government of Cambodia in implementation of the 1970 Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property. UNESCO support Cambodia to take measures to prohibit and prevent the illicit trafficking of cultural property.

UNESCO continues to support the National Museum of Cambodia to enhance capacities   in conservation and exhibition of its cultural objects.The 1970 Convention provides a common framework for the States Parties on the measures to be taken to prohibit and prevent the import, export and transfer of cultural property. The return and restitution of cultural property is central to the Convention and its duty is not only to remember but to fundamentally safeguard the identity of peoples and promote peaceful societies whereby the spirit of solidarity will be strengthened.


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