During Cambodia’s three-decade-long conflict, approximately six million landmines were planted in the nation, and the Landmine Museum represents an agonizing window into the realism of the country’s landmine situation. This museum was founded in 1997 by Aki Ra, with the prime objective to make the country safe through the removal of mines from wherever he could find them. Aki Ra was forced to work as a mine layer by the Khmer Rouge, planting landmines from an age as young as five.
Later, as part of the United Nation’s endeavor to restore peace in the country during the 1990s, Aki Ra got the opportunity to work as a de-miner. Though the UN left the country in 1994, he continued the mission in his own way, even though it was not according to international demining standards. Initially, Aki Ra turned his own home located on the outskirts of the Siem Reap into a museum displaying decommissioned bombs, landmines and other explosive weapons that he had unearthed since 1995.
In 2001, a Canadian photojournalist Richard Fitoussi founded the Cambodia Landmine Museum Relief Fund (CLMMRF) in Canada to promote as well as raise funds for Aki Ra’s work.
From legal and monetary support to providing an NGO license for the museum’s relief facility that serve as a safe residence for disadvantaged children, the CLMMRF became instrumental in realising most of his goals. He also was able to find a better venue for the museum that was officially opened on April 22, 2007.
Cambodia Landmine Museum
After Angkor Wat, the Landmine Museum is the most popular attraction in Cambodia. The key highlight of the museum is its four galleries with a vast assortment of deactivated arms that not only throw light on the landmine curse in the country but also the consequences of wars.
The displays include hidden mines, mortars, booby traps, guns and other ordnances recovered from different parts of the country. A small shop and an area devoted to carrying out the works of his NGO can also be seen here. Perhaps the best aspect of this museum is that it serves as a source of income for amputees to support their families, in addition to caring for hundreds of children badly affected by poverty and mine laying.
The Landmine Museum holds the distinction of being the first of its kind in the world. It’s completely safe and abides by all protocols put forward by the Ottawa International Treaty to Ban Landmines and the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Association Authority (CMAA).
- Opening Hours: 07:30 - 17:30
- Location: Located within the Angkor Wat Archeological Park, the Landmine Museum is five kilometers from Banteay Srey Temple, about a 30-minute drive from Siem Reap
- Remarks: A donation US$1 per person is required to enter the museum