Battambang Provincial Museum is situated in Kamkor village, SvayPor Commune, Battambang Province, western Cambodia. The museum was established in 1963 by Madeleine Giteau.Provincial Museum is finely placed downtown. Though small, it is quite worth exploring.The museum first opened its doors in 1968, only to close during the civil war and re-opened again in 1986, undergoing a refurbishment in 1997.
The museum presents not only a large collection of Angkorian and Pre-Angkorian statues and carvings but also other artifacts such as lintels, a linga, a garuda with naga from all provinces over the country including Phnom Banan and Sneng with signs in Khmer, English and French. When visiting the Provincial Museum, tourists will witness a notable collection of pottery, statuary or even musical instruments dated back to pre and Angkorian period. There, items are displayed in a rather haphazard type sometimes without any information explaining their meaning. However, the pieces are excellent and tourists can feel free to see them up close.Moreover, the Provincial Museum houses a variety of artifacts from different parts of Cambodia. For instance, the one from O’Taki, inscribed steles, a magnificent polished linga, lions boundary stones, heads of gods from the causeway at BanteayChhmar, other sculpted figures and a massive urn to mention just a few. There are also a wide range of wooden buddhas and a large head found buried in the garden of the museum presumably to avoid theft by the Khmer Rouge.
Due to the fact that many sculptures of the museum came from the Angkorean temples located around Battambang, the museum plays an important role to fully appreciate a visit to temples such as Ek Phnom, Phnom Banan and Wat Bassaet.
Right beside the museum is an exhibition area where a series of interesting demonstrations of local lifestyles including agricultural and fishing practices are held, legends and folk tales told.You can stop for hours on the skill of Battambang people to sculpt with refinement of the materials, which require a well-knowledge when we would tame them.Whereas, just behind the museum is WatTahmRai Saw temple (also called White Elephant Pagoda) – a rather large monastery with impressive buildings frequently accessed tourist spots.This temple is long well – known for its elaborate architectural structure. Coming during the time of Khmer New Year festival, tourists will have a chance to enjoy White Elephant Pagoda architecture styles as well as take an active participation in the festival.
The Provincial Museum still draws strong attraction to tourists once in Cambodia, especially in Battambang. Visitors can learn about the glorious past of the Cambodian people as well as the unique architecture of this country when visiting the museum.