Sharjah Museums Department’s (SMD) Director General Manal Ataya was invited to the Storytelling, Architecture, Technology, Experience (SATE) conference, an important annual experience and design exhibition by the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA), to give a talk under the heading ‘Introducing Museums into the Middle East: Engaging New Future Audiences" .
Organised between the 19th and 21st of September and held this year at Disneyland, Paris under the theme ‘Cultural Diversity in Themed Entertainment: Obstacle or Opportunity?’, the conference has, for several years now, been a successful venture in bringing the best of the experience design and entertainment industry from all over the world, who come together to open a dialogue of new ideas and share information on new projects in entertainment attractions and museums through a meaningful exchange.
Highlighting the importance of introducing museums to new audiences in the Middle East, Manal Ataya commented that museums are relatively new to the GCC region and a "museum-going" culture is still young but growing which is positive. The interest of visitors has allowed SMD to plan and implement improved activities and exhibitions and new museum projects in the future.
“In recent times, we are reaching out to a more diverse and dynamic audience of interests, needs and whom are technologically dependant. To remain relevant we need to re-think the museum experience and include more inter activity and technology to reach a wider and younger demographic"
She specifically mentioned the tremendous successes of the Sharjah Science Museum and Disocvery Center over the past decade with its various exhibits and interactive displays which proved extremely popular with visitors of all ages. “In this museum, people can discover science with hands-on-experiments, inter-actives and live demonstrations that explore sight, sounds, aerodynamics, cryogenics, physiology, energy and much more” she added.
Ataya also spoke at length about the development of the new Heritage Museum in Sharjah, which has been designed to attract younger and more diverse audiences. “The design and content of our galleries are new and unique; especially our contemporary heritage and storytelling gallery is sure to be popular with our younger audiences.”
Ataya also stressed that future museum projects in the UAE need to integrate more inter activity and technology. “We must also incorporate ideas from the entertainment and attraction industry which will allow us to not just garner audience interest, but keep it there, as it would enhance their experience and make museums places where one can fun learning.”
SATE is a professional design conference presented by TEA annually since 2007. The mission of SATE is to stimulate dialogue among the makers of compelling places and guest experiences, reaching across a broad range of creative disciplines and market sectors within the attractions industry. SATE provides an environment to share diverse ideas and concepts, to challenge and inspire, to learn about breakthrough projects, best practices and trends, and to discover collaborative opportunities.