Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum curated a special exhibit this month to celebrate the 10th year of inscription of its archives left behind from the Khmer Rouge regime. Housed in the very site of terror itself, the archives are a central priority for the museum and are currently undergoing a process of digitization in a project funded by KOICA (Korea International Cooperation Agency) and facilitated by UNESCO.
The temporary exhibit is located on the 2nd floor of Building A of the museum. Its panels feature the history of the founding of Memory of the World Committee for Asia and the Pacific (MOWCAP), its goals, an introduction to documentary heritage, a list of MOWCAP entries by country, and summaries of three Cambodian entries to the MOWCAP register: Panji, Reamker by Takrut, and the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum Archive. A primary goal of the museum in opening this exhibition is to educate not only international visitors but especially Cambodian nationals. Nationwide knowledge of the Memory of the World program is scarce; thus, the exhibit hopes to familiarize Cambodians with the program, encourage Cambodians to take interest in the important archival work conducted by the museum and most importantly, foster collaboration.
As written on the panels, the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum Archive consists of thousands of pages of forced confessions, biographies, official documents, photographs and more. They explicitly represent the inner workings of this dark era of Cambodian history and are crucial to the country’s remembrance, knowledge and reconciliation. Protection and dissemination of this invaluable evidence is needed for nationwide and worldwide awareness efforts. Thus, the inscription of the archives into the MOWCAP register helped further the museum’s efforts––a notable event to celebrate along with the museum’s 40th anniversary exhibit opening that month as well.