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home : community : community Monday, November 20, 2017

8/10/2016 10:22:00 AM Email this articlePrint this article 
Cambodian Museum Honors 2,500 Years Of History

By Amy Doeun

Cambodian Wedding Dress
Cambodian Association of Illinois
Saturday, June 25th over 100 people gathered at 1404 Concordia Avenue in St. Paul for the opening celebration of the Khmer (Cambodian) Legacy Museum. Chamnap Nay greeted those gathered saying, "The museum started in the heart of a lot of women here... this is a proud moment for me; a great achievement for me."

The actual physical preparations for the museum began in January 2016 however the vision began much earlier. Mr. Kosol Sek gave more background information, "We had heard about the genocide museum in Chicago and we wanted to do something similar and new in Minnesota. So we have a dream come true."

He added that he hopes the focus of the museum will not be only on the tragedy of the past 50 years, but a look at the whole scope of Khmer culture for the past 2,500 years. "We don't have to just relive the genocide. Let 2016 be the benchmark of a new era; an era where we can contribute to America and the world. This is a museum of stories, it is about challenges and journeys. Some are serious, but we can feel confident and leave a legacy for the younger generation. This is about the heroes of Cambodia and the sacrifices made. We can start a new and better legacy and look to the future. We want the older generation to be proud of their legacy," said Sek.

Janet Beifhoffer has been instrumental in helping establish the museum. She presented a Certificate of Appreciation for museum volunteers and said, "This is beautiful. You are to be commended as a community. Groups often come with fear or problems or are running away from something really bad. Then you come and work together and solve problems. It has happened for 200 years. You have treasured your culture, your art history and you have your problems but you have a beautiful legacy."

Tim Skoll, the Mayor of Hampton, MN, home of the Cambodian temple, attended the opening. He said, "I am honored to have you as part of my community. I wish more of you would come. Don't be afraid to celebrate."

The celebration also included music from the Cambodian Association of Illinois, a traditional dance by Robam Raksmey Chan, and a special performance by Phounam Pin, former star of PHARE, the Cambodian Circus.

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