Memot Center of Archaeology and Memot Museum
The Memot Center of Archaeology (including the Memot Museum) is situated in Kampong Cham province in the Memot district’s red soil area, which is rich in historic and prehistoric sites. It is a non-profit research unit of the Department of Archaeology and Prehistory of the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts. Originally founded by the German DAAD, the Heinrich Böll Foundation, the University of Tübingen and the German Embassy in Phnom Penh, the center faced severe financial problems when support from these institutions came to an end. Since it also lacks public funding, FOKCI decided to offer support to this worthwhile center.
Since its inception in 1999 the Memot Center for Archaeology has aimed to educate independent Cambodian scholars in the field of archaeology and prehistory, with an emphasis on both research and basic education for local and non-local public. Trained in the techniques of excavation, making site plans, and procedures of analysis and treatment, the young scholars of the Memot Center contribute to an understanding of the Cambodian heritage.
Work at the Memot Centre
The Memot museum was established in 2002 to display cultural objects taken from several excavations and surface finds from prehistoric sites. To make research information accessible booklets, flyers and posters have been published in Khmer and English for officials, students, local people and visitors. So long as funding is available the museum is able to offer regular opening hours. In the first half of 2009 there were 463 visitors: Khmer from many areas (Kampong Thom, Phnom Penh, Kratie, Kampong Som, Koh Kong, Kampong Cham as well as from the Memot district itself) and international visitors from France, Italy, Australia, Japan, United States, Germany, Ireland, Canada and India.
In 2008 the Centre organized a seminar on the value of National Cultural Heritage with Memot High School students and teachers invited to participate. More seminars are planned for the future.
Since the original supporters are no long involved, and since the funds from the Ministry of Culture are very limited, the Museum has only been able to continue its efforts with financial support from FOKCI. Continuous support is vital to keep the museum and center for archaeology open and the education programs about national heritage alive.
If funds permit, training of students and staff in different restoration techniques in the laboratory will continue. The laudable aim is to encourage independent archaeological research in Cambodia. In addition, the Museum hopes to enlarge the exhibition by adding objects found in recent excavations. There is a plan as well to publish a museum guidebook and to create a complete professional inventory of the museum’s objects.