Museums are repositories of a national narrative, a core register of the state. Having been associated with Oman for the past twenty five years, a visit to its National Museum opposite the Al Alam Palace is poignant especially on the extended National Day Weekend where Omani families, with tourists were in full force to understand the genealogy of the Omani nation from pre historic Magan times to the present Renaissance/Al Nahda present. The plush two ground plus one museum was classy, all in white- had a very international feel where History was the context for something much larger than gallery spaces with artefacts, a nations life was being explained.
Oman’s Maritime History was explored in a major part of the Museum with life size Dhows and all sorts of armour, with a Boston made canon too. Omani Maritime prowess has played a major role in its history.
Globalisation started early as Oman had the first diplomatic relationship with the United States in the region. Oman’s History with India was highlighted through a door artefact from Surat made in 1186 AD. Similarly relations with East Africa were depicted through coins and other material symbolisms. The currency evolution was explained visually which caught the fancy of many an expat, as they come to make a living in this blessed land.
The Renaissance gallery had a socioeconomic statistical data monitor which reminded me of something similar that I came across in the National Gallery, Singapore where art was mapped through big data in May 2018. The musical section had access points to listen to music from Omani artists such as Rashid Al Suri among others. Rashid Al Suri according to the Qatar Digital Archive, lived in Mumbai during the 1940’s.
The National Museum was filled with grandfathers explaining to their grandsons various facets of traditional weapons to young men and women dressed up in their traditional finery with flags. History is the crux of building a sense of identity and this National Museum does an outstanding service in illuminating the past for the citizens of the future. National Museum Oman #experienceoman @ National Museum Oman