On Tuesday it was threatening to rain and we woke up late so we decided to head to the National Museum.
We were a little apprehensive. We had recently discovered that, frequently, museums suck. We saw the National Museum in Bangkok and were less than impressed. Granted we were a little overheated and under-hydrated, but I still don't think that I would have found it too awesome even in optimal conditions. There were lots of things in the museum, but very little information. The places where there was lots of information there were very few things. Oh,and the dioramas. I cannot imagine a single person who would find tiny dramatic depictions of lame historic events to be that fascinating. We had the same experience at the museum in Chiang Mai. Dioramas galore. The best exhibit was the temporary one on hill tribe music traditions.
However, there was no reason to be apprehensive about visiting the Angkor National Museum. It was well laid out, filled with actual artifacts and jam packed with information. In addition to historical information on well-designed wall displays, there was art history information beside many of the pieces explaining, for example, why earlier sculptures of Vishnu contained props (such as staffs) and other supports between the arms and the ground or the extra arms and the head (because the sculptures didn't know how else to support the weight of the statue and keep it from toppling over).
We really enjoyed our time in the museum and recommend it to anyone visiting Siem Reap and the Angkor Archeological Park.