Saturday, February 08, 2014

Ancient Culture Goes Online as National Museum Digitises

Phnom Penh Post, Cambodia
by Christopher Scott, January 29, 2014

After nine years of locating works, cross-checking records, photographing and finally cataloguing, the National Museum has unveiled its online database, which features more than 16,000 entries ranging from ancient statues to paintings and manuscripts.
Launched on January 3, the database is the only fine arts system of its kind in Cambodia, with its web presence enabling museum curators to locate and document works, as well as providing the public with access.
Funded by the Leon Levy Foundation, the National Museum of Cambodia collaborated with the Center for Khmer Studies (CKS), an international, non-governmental organisation that supports and promotes research and scholarly exchange with Cambodia.
“It’s extremely important for Cambodians as well as researchers, whether they be just generally interested in Cambodian art, wanting to actually locate, write about or research something in particular in the collection,” Darryl Collins, project director and member of the CKS board of directors, said.
Prior to the online database, museum records were scattered in three different formats, with several French card cataloguing systems, Khmer handwritten inventory lists and a pre-existing database.
“Before it was rather laborious; virtually you had to turn up on the doorstep of the National Museum Of Cambodia to talk to the curatorial staff or the director and find out about a particular piece,” Collins said.
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