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National Museum of Cambodian
National Museum of Cambodia

The National Museum of Cambodia in Phnom Penh is Cambodia's largest museum of cultural history and is the country's leading historical and archaeological museum.

The museum houses one of the world's largest collections of Khmer art, including sculptural, ceramics, bronzes, and ethnographic objects. The museum’s collection includes over 14,000 items, from prehistoric times to periods before, during, and after the Khmer Empire, which at its height stretched from Thailand, across present-day Cambodia, to southern Vietnam. The Museum buildings, inspired by Khmer temple architecture, were constructed between 1917 and 1924, the museum was officially inaugurated in 1920, and renovated in 1968.

History
George Groslier (1887–1945), historian, curator and author was the motivating force behind much of the revival of interest in traditional Cambodian arts and crafts, and it was he who designed this building that is today ‘traditional Khmer’ architecture. It is perhaps better described as a building enlarged from Cambodian temple prototypes seen on ancient bas-reliefs and reinterpreted through colonial eyes to meet the museum-size requirements.
The foundation stone for the new museum was laid on 15 August 1917. Some two-and-a-half years later, the completed museum was inaugurated during Khmer New Year on 13 April 1920 in the presence of H.M King Sisowath, François-Marius Baudoin, Résident-supérieur, and M. Groslier, director of Cambodian Arts , and Conservator of the museum.
The original design of the building was slightly altered in 1924 with extensions that added wings at either end of the eastern façade that made the building even more imposing. Control of the National Museum and Arts Administration was ceded by the French to the Cambodians on 9 August, 1951 and following Independence in 1953, the then Musée National de Phnom Penh was the subject of bilateral accords. In 1966 Chea Thay Seng was the first Cambodian Director of the Museum and Dean of the newly created Department of Archaeology at the Royal University of Fine Arts. This university that form its foundation as the Ecole des Arts Cambodgiens in 1920 was intimately linked with students, artisans and teachers who worked to preserve Cambodian cultural traditions, can still be found to the rear of the museum. 
During Khmer Rouge regime of 1975-79 devastated all aspects of Cambodian life including the cultural realm. The Museum, along with the rest of Phnom Penh, was evacuated and abandoned. The Museum, closed between 1975 and 1979, and was found in disrepair, its roof rotten and home to a vast colony of bats, the garden overgrown, and the collection in disarray, many objects damaged or stolen. The Museum was quickly tidied up and reopened to the public on April 13, 1979. However, many of the Museum's employees had lost their lives during the Khmer Rouge regime.

Collection
Together with the adjacent Royal University of Fine Arts and its Department of Archaeology, the National Museum of Cambodia works to enhance knowledge of and preserve Cambodian cultural traditions and to provide a source of pride and identity to the Cambodian people. The Museum also serves a religious function; its collection of important Buddhist and Hindu sculpture addresses community religious needs as a place of worship. A permanent exhibition, Post-Angkorian Buddha, supported by UNESCO and a number of individuals and local businesses, opened in 2000 to extend the religious function of the Museum.
Under the auspices of the Cambodian Department of Museums, the Museum not only manages its own collection, staff, and premises but also supports and oversees all other state-run museums in Cambodia. Its activities are further supported by private individuals, foreign governments, and numerous philanthropic organizations. The activities of the Museum include the presentation, conservation, safekeeping, interpretation, and acquisition of Cambodian cultural material, as well as the repatriation of Cambodian cultural property. Looting and illicit export of Cambodian cultural material is a continuing concern.

Outside of Cambodia, the Museum promotes the understanding of Cambodian arts and culture by lending objects from its collection for major international exhibitions. This practice was in place before Cambodia’s recent decades of unrest and was reinstituted in the 1990s, starting with an exhibition held at the National Gallery of Australia in 1992. Subsequent exhibitions have been held in France, the USA, Japan, South Korea, and Germany.
 

Mr. Phanith is a knowledgeable and adventurous tour guide with a lot of heart. He loves to take people to sites off the beaten track -- in comfort! I am a repeat customer & look forward to many more excursions with him in Cambodia.

Panith is the best tour guide I've ever had. His service and level of knowledge are unparalelled and he is a great person to go with it. I wouldn't hesitate in recommending his services to anyone (in fact I already have) and we look forward to coming back over to Cambodia and visiting Panith once again.

Phanith is a very polite, well articulated and educated tour guide. He showed us (me and my husband) secret location that is only known to few tourist and tour guides. I highly recommend Cambodia tour services to everyone.

I was introduced to phanith when I visited Siam Reap for my honeymoon in January 2010. This was my third trip and he was the best guide ever. 12 months later and my Son, his girlfriend and 2 friends were travelling to Siam Reap and I gave them Phaniths contact details as I knew he would look after thier every need...and he did. They came back and said he was wonderful. Guides can make or break a holiday destination, so if you want to be guaranteed an indepth experience with a wonderful guide you will not be dissapointed. Debra Melbourne Australia

Panith's knowledge of Cambodia was most impressive, the information he provided us with was outstanding. I would not hesitate in recommending Panith to anyone considering a tour on their trip to Cambodia.

Travel to Cambodia with friends on the year 2009.Panith, is a well qualified tour guide who served his customers with whole-hearted attitude. It was hard to miss any important info with his guide. He always do his best to satisfy us with his knowledge on the history & culture of Cambodia & some funny jokes that cheer us up for the whole trip. if there is a chance to go back Cambodia, sure will look for you once again...Thanks for your companion for the 3days guide.

Cheab Phanith is a very kind and smart guide. It was a very nice experience to discover Cambodia with him. I can highly recommend him to everybody who wants to know more than usual about the country! Sehr freundlich und zuvorkommend! Nur zu empfehlen!

I had a great time at Siem Reap and Phanith was our tour guide for 3 days. He knows the place well and is always eager to tell us the histories and stories of the temples. Besides, I can still remember the mango and some local food that he introduced to us. Not forgetting his cheerful and playfulness especially when he knew you better. He is really passionate about his work and without a doubt, i would love to have him to guide me again on our next adventure at Siem Reap. Looking forward to go there again. By that time, I hope he would have time to entertain me!!!

Phanith is very knowledgeable and is an ambitious young lad. We've learned a lot about Siem Reap from him and apart from that, he represents the young mind of Cambodia. Impressed and looking forward to visiting Cambodia again. Well done Phanith!

Phanith is one of the most patient and knowledgeable tour guide I've ever had! We are a bunch of crazy girls who loves to run around for photoshoots! He'll always guide us patiently with all his hearts, love his service and love his companion!

My friends and I had a good time with Cheab Panith. He's very polite, accomodating and I'm impressed with all his knowledge of all the information about cambodia. He brought us to some location that no other tour guide does, making our tour more adventurous. contact him now!

I went to Cambodia a couple of years ago and had the pleasure of having Phanith as a tourguide for my group. Not only is he knowledgeable about the history of each site in Siem Riep, he's also very attentive to our welfare. My sister had a sprained ankle and he took his time to stay behind with her to make sure she gets to enjoy the trip as much as the rest of us. For other perks, ask him to do a tarzan move when he's near a tree! It's definitely entertaining to have him as your tour guide :)

It was a good star who introduced me to Phanith when I visited Siem Reap 5 years ago for a teaching week at Kantha Bopha Children`s hospital. Since then I prolong my yearly courses by 3-4 days to visit with him remote temples and provinces and learn more about everyday life in Cambodia.Phanith is a highly qualified temple guide, an outstanding scout through rural Cambodia, where he has grown up and an exceptional personality.He speaks English fluently, carefully organizes his tours and passionately introduces you to the hidden secrets of his wonderful country.Next year I will bring my family and hope he will also show my boy how to catch crickets, produce palm sugar and find medicinal herbs in the jungle

Panith is an absolute Gem! We wanted to pack him up and take him with us on the remainder of our journey. All the testimonials listed here are true to their word, Panith will certainly not disappoint.

Mr Phanith is very nice and full of patience. He introduced many good local restaurants to us. In each checkpoint, he would describe its history and find a very good place for photographing. Next time, I will find him again if I want to go Cambodia. Next time, when my friends would like to go, I will introduce Mr Phanith to them.

Panith is a real gentlemen, he is the perfect tour guide for visiting the archeological site of Angkor Wat. He has a perfect knowledge of Cambogia history and culture and is very interesting to listen to. I really recommend him for a full immersion in Cambogia culture and lifestyle.

I was recently in Siem Reap and had the pleasure of Panith as my tour guide. I had a fabulous time. He is so well informed, patient and flexible. He provides a very professional service. I highly recommend him.

We had an amazing experience in Cambodia because of our tour guide Mr. Phanith! He speaks english well, smart and very friendly!we learned so much from him. He also assisted us with our pictures hes so nice! Great job mr Phanith! we wish you all the best.


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