A Different Place and Time

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#sol20- January 21, 2020

We are just beginning our “Where We Are in Place and Time” unit and focusing on the history of Phnom Penh since independence. The country declared independence from France in 1953. It is a heavy topic, for sure, but so important for our students. Nearly half of my class is Khmer and we are all learning a lot together.

This week we are visiting the Sosoro Museum. the Cambodian Museum of Money and Economy. It all came together by coincidence when we were meeting with the language teachers were talking to us about connections they could make to the unit.

“A friend told me about a money museum,” Solenn said. “I haven’t been there, but it sounded good.”

Once we looked at the website we were convinced enough to book it sight unseen.

My teammate, Anita, made a quick visit on Saturday and gave it good reviews, so Sunday morning, with a friend’s mom in town, I decided it was worth a sneak peek. I decided to limit myself to a one hour (more or less) visit, as that is what the students will have. Now money and economy do not really sound super interesting to me, but this museum really was outstanding. It managed to include relevant bits of Cambodia’s history in twelve “modules” where the story of money throughout time was shared. Timelines were annotated and included some comparisons (like the cost of rice) to help visitors really understand the information. The museum is thoughtfully laid out, has interactive displays in Khmer, English, and French, and even includes some online games at the end. As a souvenir, you can even get “money” printed with your face on it.

I am glad I went ahead of time and know I will go back afterward as well. I love a field trip that really enriches student learning and can’t wait to go with our class on Thursday. This museum really brings history alive. My only complaint is that there is so much information I wanted to take down and no photos are allowed.

What a lovely way to spend a Sunday morning and I am sure the third graders will be excited to return with their parents after their time there. It’s interesting, organized, and air conditioned- a great way to spend some time. An unexpected treat!

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