The National Museum Preserving, protecting and promoting Oman’s rich heritage

MUSCAT: The National Museum in the Sultanate is a vital project aimed at promoting public awareness about the Omani noble values, history, culture and heritage, besides preserving the cultural heritage by supporting research and scientific and historical studies, and heritage conservation plans. The vision of the museum is to provide a leadership model in the museum industry to achieve the targeted development for the sector.
The National Museum has recently been awarded for the Best Public Effects Project at the 2017 Middle East Awards. The award is one of the world’s most prestigious awards in the field of light effects.
The Sultanate, through this museum, aspires to become a prominent place in the field of museum industry and to keep pace with the technical and technological developments in the museum sector by adopting the best standards and techniques used in museum management.
The National Museum was established by Royal Decree No (62/2013) issued on 16th Muharram 1435 AH (corresponding to 20th November 2013) and thus has become a legal entity, in accordance with the international experience and standards recognised in the classification of museums.
Jamal bin Hassan al Mousawi, Director of the National Museum, said: “The National Museum includes the first museum teaching centre in the Sultanate, equipped with the highest international standards, and facilities for storing and preventive conservation, designed according to the International Council of Museums (ICOM) standards. It is also one of the first public buildings in the Sultanate”.
He added in a statement to Oman News Agency (ONA) that the national project aims to preserve the cultural heritage of Oman by supporting research, scientific and historical studies, plans
for conservation and preventive conservation, as well as education and community communication. He pointed out that until today, since January of this year, more than 384 archaeological artifacts have been stored and preserved, in addition to conducting more than 325 programmes by the Learning Centre, benefiting more than 11,000 people.
The Director of the National Museum added that the museum includes a number of halls with a variety of details. The Land and the People Gallery, dedicated to the land of Oman and its people, shows how the geography of places and resources available have formed many cultures, both locally and nationally. The hall focuses on the importance of water resources in the Sultanate.
He added that the Maritime History Gallery, through its exhibits, shows the strong relationship with the sea. With Oman’s vast coasts, Oman’s history remains a remarkable maritime history. For centuries, fishermen have been sailing along these shores in search of a living.
The Arms and Armour Gallery deals with the cultural dimensions of the traditional weapon in Oman from prehistoric times until the beginning of the century (14 AH / 20 AD). It also reviews the development of its manufacturing techniques as a result of interaction with the outside world.
The Civilisation in the Making Gallery highlights aspects of the local architectural heritage from the third millennium BC (Majan Civilisation) to the present time, which includes the march of five thousand years.
Al Mousawi said that the Aflaj Gallery covers the Omani aflaj system “ancient irrigation system or water channels”. There are still around 3,000 living aflaj in use throughout the Sultanate.
The Currency Gallery includes currency notes and coins that were used in Oman over a number of historical centuries.
In 2004, the site of the project was chosen to be opposite Al Alam Palace and in the shadow of the castles of Jalali and Mirani and outside the walls of old Muscat to add a symbolic dimension and significance.
The number of items and antiques contained in the museum’s fixed galleries is about 6,000. It is divided between antiques, handicrafts,
manuscripts, documents, correspondence, ancient publications, postage stamps, high-precision figures for ships, boats, navigational tools, conventional weapons and high-precision museum figures for castles, forts and historic buildings.