CHHAY VISOTH, Director
What is your favourite part of the job?
I am an archaeologist by training, so I am very interested to work at a memorial site of such historical significance. Thefavorite part of my job is developing an historical site into an active museum that serves the needs of the public. I am most satisfied when I observe visitors having a meaningful experience here as a result of the efforts of my staff. That being said, the most rewarding part of my job is the spirit of teamwork of my staff, sharing a common commitment and dedication to the progress of the museum.
What is most challenging about what you do?
Creating content to attract local visitors is the most challenging task for me. I have found that it is important to develop creative techniques to educate Cambodians about this tragic part of our history. I would like to see the growth of local visitors. That calls for changing the local perspective about the museum from a place that evokes fear to one that inspires peace and unity in Cambodian society, especially for the younger generations.
What has been the most notable project you have worked on?
Our educational programs have been very successful. We are travelling to local public schools with a mobile exhibit about the museum and its history to better educate young people about Khmer Rouge history. This outreach has helped to raise awareness about the importance of preserving the museum as a memorial site. I have also received very good feedback about the physical improvements we’ve made to the museum in the past two years. We’ve added a room for contemplation and reflection with Khmer traditional music and Smot chanting, for example. We now have an Activity Room for younger visitors, and we are growing a research library. These improvements are in line with the goal of creating an active museum that helps visitors better understand and process the gruesome history of the Khmer Rouge period so that it is never repeated.
What would you like to achieve for the museum in the years to come and what would you like your legacy to be?
I want to see this museum be cared for as an important memorial site, both for Cambodians and for international visitors, that not only educates but also contributes to healing and reconciling with this dark period. Especially for the youth, I hope my legacy will be that the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum inspires them to be messengers of peace for our country and for the world.