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Memory of the World exhibition opens at BACC

Documentary Heritage in Asia and the Pacific spotlighted at Bangkok Art and Culture Centre until 29 January


Documentary heritage stored in archives, museums and libraries throughout Asia-Pacific help form a “collective memory of humanity” unique to this region – one rich and diverse, comprising items ranging from ancient manuscripts to vintage films, as well as stark reminders of human rights travesties.

The "Memory of the World: Documentary Heritage in Asia and the Pacific" exhibition, which was launched at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (BACC) on 16 January and is on display until 29 January, showcased this rich legacy.

Heritage specialists, embassy officials, journalists and other interested people joined the launch of the exhibition, which drew from the “Memory of the World: Documentary Heritage in Asia and the Pacific”, jointly published by UNESCO and CLOUD Publication in 2016.

In her opening remarks, Ms. Misako Ito (above), chief of UNESCO Bangkok’s Communication and Information Unit, described the vibrancy of the programme in the Asia-Pacific region. “The Memory of the World programme has a system of registry for globally significant documentary heritage,” she said. “So far, there are over 357 items inscribed globally – around 25% of them come from Asia-Pacific, which really reflects the importance of documentary heritage in the region.”

Among the collections showcased were The Asian Film Archive Collection: Cathay-Keris Malay Classics, inscribed in 2014; the Sakubei Yamamoto Collection, Japan, inscribed in 2011; the Royal Examinations of the Le and Mac Dynasties (1442-1779) of Viet Nam, and the harrowing Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum Archive from Cambodia, inscribed on the regional register in 2008.

Delivering the keynote address and introduction to the exhibition, Dr. M R Rujaya Abhakorn, UNESCO Memory of the World Asia and Pacific (MOWCAP) Goodwill Patron, introduced some of the exhibition's highlights, while also stressing the criteria for inclusion on Memory of the World registers: uniqueness, authenticity and of either national, regional or international importance. He added that “preservation and access” were also at the heart of the programme.  

“There need to be measures to preserve [the heritage] properly and access – people can read it, listen to it,” he said. “The documents that have been accepted for registration have to be somehow accessible to people.”

The free exhibition will remain on display on the third floor of the BACC (National Stadium BTS Station exit) the 29 January when it will move to UNESCO Bangkok’s office between Thong Lor and Ekkamai roads on Sukhumvit.

Memory of the World and Human Rights Online Gallery

Media advisory


For more information on the exhibition, please contact Andrew Henderson, Communication and Information Unit, UNESCO Bangkok,