ABU DHABI // Experts hope the Zayed National Museum will encourage young people to develop an interest in their country’s archaeological history.
Ahead of the museum’s opening next year, a series of talks about the museum are taking place in the next few months.
When finished, the museum will tell the story of the unification of the UAE, the history of the region, and its cultural connections across the world. It will also focus on Sheikh Zayed’s belief in education, conservation, environmental sustainability, heritage and culture. The museum will enable visitors to appreciate a collection of art and artefacts from cultures of the UAE and the wider Middle East.
On Wednesday night the second of the Multaqa (Arabic for gathering) Zayed National Museum took place at Manarat Al Saadiyat exhibition centre.
Speakers, including Dr Walid Al Tikriti, head of archaeology at the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, and Eisa Yousif, of the archaeology department at the Sharjah Media and Culture Authority, spoke about what they hoped the museum would achieve.
They said some of the museum’s exhibits would be taken from archaeological sites around the country, such as Jebel Faya in Sharjah, Jebel Barakah in Al Gharbia and ed-Dur in Umm Al Quwain.
Sara Abdullah, an archaeologist with the Architectural Heritage Department at Dubai Municipality, said there was a lack of knowledge about the country’s archaeology, which the museum aimed to change.
“People here have enough knowledge about cultural heritage, but not about archaeological sites,” she said. “There is a lack of awareness, so we are targeting all age groups. People say that archaeology is for men, but I work on excavation sites and there are other Emirati women working on these sites as well.”
The archeologists discussed coins, combs and other items they had discovered that had come to the UAE through trade from neighbouring countries.
After the event, Amal bin Daiban, a researcher for Zayed National Museum, said she believed the museum would reflect Sheikh Zayed’s passion for preserving the history of UAE.
“He initiated the first museum in the UAE and ... it will help the public understand the history of the UAE and the relation and connection with surrounding civilisations in the Middle East.”