JAKARTA/TOKYO, 26 November 2021 – The inaugural e-exhibition of the ASEAN Cultural Heritage Digital Archive (ACHDA) website was unveiled today at the Webinar and Launch of “Forging History: Metals in the Crucible of ASEAN’s Transformation.”

The e-exhibition is a new feature of the ACHDA website, developed during the project’s second phase that commenced in January 2021.

“Forging History” brings focus to the roles of metals in transforming the ASEAN region’s history and cultures. It features 22 digitised cultural heritage treasures selected by guest curator Girard Phillip E. Bonotan with support from museums and archival institutions of the ASEAN Member States. Highlights of the e-exhibition include Buddhist manuscript cabinets from Thailand, golden crowns from Indonesia, and modern metal artworks created by Malaysian artists, among others.

During the panel discussion titled “Reimagining Exhibitions During COVID-19”, experts from cultural institutions in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Japan discussed their experiences in reinventing the museum experience in light of the ongoing pandemic.

“While the COVID-19 pandemic has deeply affected ASEAN’s cultural institutions, it provides impetus for museums to re-imagine their outreach to audiences through immersive digital cultural offerings.”

Deputy-Secretary General for ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Ekkaphab Phantavong at the opening of the webinar.

He added, “Forging History aspires to promote ASEAN’s rich and diverse cultural heritage to a wider audience through engaging storytelling, while also inspiring museums, galleries, and libraries to explore innovative ways to present their collections using digital technology.”

The ACHDA project is supported by the government of Japan through the ASEAN-Japan Integration Fund (JAIF). Ambassador Akira Chiba of the Mission of Japan to ASEAN, stated, “It is my honor and pleasure to see that advanced Japanese digitisation technology by NTT DATA came into use, and that JAIF, the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund plays an indispensable role in launching this project.”

The ACHDA website was launched on February 27, 2020. It hosts a collection of 2D and 3D images, audio recordings, and video data. To date, 267 cultural assets from Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Thailand are available to the public. Katsufumi Fukunishi, Senior Vice President of NTT DATA, stated,

“I am truly honored that NTT DATA’s information technologies can contribute to the preservation and sharing of ASEAN’s precious cultural heritage through the ACHDA Project. It is my sincere hope that through the new user experience of cultural heritage through the e-Exhibition page developed this time, the value of ACHDA’s efforts will become more widely known, and that a new culture will be fostered to ensure that the valuable cultural assets of today are passed on to the future. NTT DATA will continue its efforts to contribute to the inheritance of valuable human heritage through this project.”

Forging History can be accessed through https://heritage.asean.org/e-exhibitions. More e-exhibitions will be added as the collection of digital heritage treasures on the ACHDA website expands.

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