Tales of three different Southeast Asian museums

Richard Bammer of the Reporter visits three Southeast Asian Museums – The Museum of Vietnamese History in Hanoi, The Angkor National Museum in Siem Reap, and the National Museum Bangkok and contrasts the state of artefacts there.

Tales of three different Southeast Asian museums
The Reporter, 18 February 2010

Trips last month to three different Southeast Asian museums yielded three highly different experiences and impressions of how a nation’s treasures can be handled and cared for — or, to my eyes and mind, mishandled and endangered.

Still, a bigger shock awaited me in the museum basement, where historic ceramics are kept. Damp air and the smell of mold filled the low-ceilinged galleries. Walls and display cases showed signs of water leaks and damage. While it rained the day I visited, January is not a monsoon month in Vietnam, so I could only imagine the situation would worsen over time unless changes are made — and soon.


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Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

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