Monday, December 22, 2014

The National Museum of Oman---to be completed 18th November 2014?

I stand corrected. It is IN a plan to have a national museum of Oman. It is "almost" completed/(almost open?).
Supposedly The National Museum of Oman was to be opened in the last quarter of this 2014 in November (so it should be open right?) and the contract cost $25 million (I assume US dollars not rials Omani?). According to the Ministry of Heritage and Culture, the construction area of the museum is 13,000 square metres with 4,000 square metres, to house 7,000 objects (5,000 of archeological significance)  in 250 showcases (anything related to traditional handicrafts in various forms, old and rare photographs, original manuscripts, documents and old correspondence, traditional navigation tools, al-raḥmāniyyāt (guides) records of falajs, and the old tools used in their construction and maintenance, banknotes and coins traded in old Oman, rare postage stamps, fine art works by pioneering Omani artists and archaeological finds). It was to be built (is being built? since I have heard nothing about completion) close to Al 'Alam Palace in Old Muscat (near Bait Zubair and all that---so good for tourists visiting Mutrah Souq). I now know what that construction was (cement was by Carillion--one construction company---I don't know the others).
 It was designed by a Spanish design firm, Acciona Producciones y Diseño (and Arts Architecture are the design architects? and museum designers are Jasper Jacob Associates). That design included (includes?) twelve galleries based on themes from Omani history [Earth and Man, Maritime History, Weapons, Cultural Achievements, Aflaj, Coins, Pre-history and Ancient Ages, Oman and the Outer World, the Majesty of Islam and the Renaissance Era], a temporary exhibit hall for travelling exhibitions (great)---along with required storage, a wharehouse, a conservation centre (yes!---we so need that) and an education centre and lecture hall  (for school tours I assume). Of course (for tourists and staff) there will be things like gift shop, restaurant, coffee shop ect...The collections housed by the museum are to be "contextualised with numerous interactive and audiovisual elements aimed at bringing the museum experience to life" and "The "Oman in History" audiovisual presentation, shot by the design firm, will appear in "ultra-high definition" (four times the usual HD quality) and will be projected on a screen of 8.3 megapixels in the museum theatre." (So the Museum has a theatre). It was also proposed to be accessible for wheelchairs, and the visually impaired. All great.
Acciona Producciones y Diseño are a pretty well known design firm, engaging in projects I have ACTUALLY heard about, like the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha and the Qatar Orientalist Museum, and the concept drawings I managed to google, I am totally into so, beyond my doubt that this project met its completion date, and budget, I am optimistic. Archeology in Oman is very under studied. For tourism, finds are important, and for anthropology and archeology as feilds themselves, of immeasurable value. I am truly, truly excited. I want to know the opening hours;).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Main building work, the "shell and core" is about done, the specialists are in doing the fit out for the exhibits, lighting, displays etc...

As for finished on time, and on budget, the more things change, the more they stay the same for any fancy project in Oman....