Sharjah Museums Department
The Sharjah Museums Department (SMD) participated in the Seminar for Arabian Studies, which was organized to increase awareness of the museums sector in the GCC region. SMD’s participation formed part of the Department’s commitment to increase the exposure of its various museums and achievements in the area of museum education on regional and international levels and to play an active role in raising awareness about preserving the region’s rich heritage. The delegation from SMD included Manal Ataya, Director General of SMD, as well as Fatima Musharbak Head of Community and Accessibility Programmes and Services at the Department of Interpretation and Education, and Mona bin Hussain Head of Academic and Adult Programmes at the Department of Interpretation and Education, who each presented a paper at the seminar.
Co-organized by Dr Mark Beech of Historic Environment Department and Dr Celine Hullo-Pouyat of the Cultural Department, Abu Dhabi Tourism and Cultural Authority, the seminar was held between July 13 and 15 at the British Museum’s Clore Centre.
Scholars from all over the world presented their studies in the three-day seminar on topics ranging from history of the human race, archaeology in the Arabian peninsula, the development of modern communities, and on how to intensify policy-making efforts for understanding the cultural heritage of the UAE.
SMD has been striving to improve understanding for Sharjah‘s rich cultural identity, both locally and internationally. With its vision to provide the highest standards of museum services and implement best practice through its exhibitions, research and educational programmes.
Speaking on the occasion, Ataya, SMD’s director general who chaired the session and led the discussion on issues related to museums in the GCC region, said, “Museums in Sharjah play a vital role in enhancing the understanding of Sharjah‘s history and its connection to numerous cultures, promoting artistic expression and providing a unique learning environment that fosters creativity, critical thinking, conversation and enjoyment.”
The sessions in the Seminar for Arabian Studies were broadly categorized into five themes; museums and development, museums and narrative, regional and local museums, museums and globalization and museums and the community.
The aim of these sessions was to explore and understand the cause of an unprecedented growth in the number of museums in the GCC region, the purpose they serve, and whether or not the local communities have developed an interest in regional history after the swell in museums across Arabia.
The seminar was attended by anthropologists, archeologists, cultural heritage managers, historians, sociologists as well as people with a general appreciation for the presentation and development of cultural facilities in the region.