The history of the National Museum of Cambodia goes back to the early 20th century. It was inaugurated on 13 April 1920 under the patronage of King Sisowath and the French Resident Francois Baudoin, and was named Musee Albert Sarraut after the Governor General of Indochina. The 90-year-old red sandstone building, George Groslier the French archaeologist (1887-1945) was the prime force in the establishment of the museum and he also designed the museum building.
The museum houses is collections of 1,877 items displayed, it is the world’s largest exhibit of ancient Khmer artifacts and there are 12,320 more pieces in the basement waiting to be categorized and displayed. The prehistoric items, stone, bronze and wood sculptures, ceramics and ethnographic objects from the prehistoric, Pre-Angkorian, Angkorian and Post-Angkorian periods are divided into several categories.
Among the most spectacular stone works are the remarkable Hindu divinities of eight-armed Vishnu represented as the supreme god, surrounded by his avatars from Angkor Borei, the heartland of Funan (1st-6th C) in present day Takeo province that exemplifies the pre-Angkor style known as Phnom Da. Other exceptional works include the representations of Harihara, and the goddess Durga in her aspect as Mahisasuramardini from the northern group at Sambor Prei Kuk as well as the famous Harihara from the Prasat Andet temple in Kompong Thom province, and the female figure of Devi from Koh Krieng in Kratie province. While stone sculptures are renowned in the collection, works in bronze also illustrate the superb expertise of Khmer craftsmanship in metal production during the pre-Angkor and Angkor periods. A large 11th century bronze sculpture of Reclining Vishnu from West Baray at Angkor is undoubtedly one of the monumental masterworks of Khmer statuary.
Many significant examples of Buddhist images are also on display. The group of Buddhist statues from Vat Romlok, Angkor Borei is one of the most important representations in the history of Khmer Buddhist art.
The Museum promotes awareness, understanding and appreciation of Cambodia‘s heritage through the presentation, conservation, safekeeping, interpretation and acquisition of Cambodian cultural material, it aims to educate and inspire its visitors.
– Opening Hours: From 8.00am until 5.00pm daily. Last admission tickets are sold at 4.30pm.
– Admission Fees: $5 for foreign visitors, 500 riels for Cambodians, children and school groups are free
– Tour Guide: Can be arranged for individuals or groups at the museum entrance. Tours are available in Khmer, English, French and Japanese, $3 charge per hour for group tour.