The long-awaited opening of the National Museum of Oman took place earlier this week in Muscat under the auspices of His Highness Sayyid Fahd bin Mahmood Al Said, deputy Prime Minister for the Council of Ministers in Oman.
With a total area of 13,700 square metres, the museum houses 15 display halls, including the Land and People Hall, Maritime History Hall, Aflaj Hall, Currency Hall, Prehistory Hall and the Hall of Oman, and the Outside World. The National Museum will also offer the first UHD cinema hall in the Sultanate, which will screen a number of short movies about Oman.
Established by a Royal Decree issued in November 2013, the museum is the collaborative result of Oman working with Spanish and Russian consultants to curate the collections and will play an important role in preserving the cultural heritage of the Sultanate. The number of archaeological artefacts in the museum stands at about 6,000 and includes archaeological antiques, craft industries, manuscripts and models of ships, castles and forts among others. Objects showcased at the museum were brought from around the world, donated by Omanis and transported from an old museum in Oman.
“[The] Land and People Hall is the heart of the museum and shows how Omani cultural crafts are integrated into our daily lives. We have the Mihrab, which was deconstructed from Uwainah mosque in Wadi Bani Khalid, which was built at the beginning of the 16th century, and reconstructed here. The Land and People Hall has two of the biggest showcases in the world,” said Janaab al Sayyida Nada Fakhri Al Said, head of the museum’s external relations department.
“Oman has the first conservation site in the museum and all the objects in the gallery are restored and went through conservation. There is also a temporary exhibition space, which will promote Omani artists and special artefacts from time to time,” she added.
Despite the official opening, it will be early to mid-2016 before the public gets a chance to visit, with the museum organising a number of VIP visits between now and then. When it is open to the public, entrance fees for Omanis and residents are likely to be kept at RO1, while tourists will pay RO5.