Sunday, September 19
03:25 PM

Initiative launched to empower museums

28 Jul 2021

The National Museum and the Smithsonian Institution -the world’s largest museum and research complex and the United States’ preeminent cultural centre – have collaborated for a series of six seminars on 21st century curatorship for Omani museum professionals, specialists and students to boost Oman’s cultural institution. 

The series which started on July 27, will continue throughout the year. 

The seminars are hosted by Dr Paul Michael Taylor, an anthropologist who is curator for Asian, European, and Middle Eastern Cultures, as well as director of the Asian Cultural History Program at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. 

‘He will lead a team of experts to share new research, museum technologies, and insights to advance cultural studies at museums and historic sites,’ the National Museum said in a statement. 

Under Dr Taylor’s leadership, the Asian Cultural History Program has hosted ‘Heritage’ projects focused on research, exhibition, collection improvements, virtual engagement, and international outreach and training in various regions of the world.

Jamal bin Hassan al Moosawi, secretary general of the National Museum, said, “Oman’s museums captivate visitors with objects that tell the stories of Oman and offer a sense of place. The trainings with scholars and experts from the Smithsonian Institution advance the mission of the National Museum and keep our heritage relevant in the modern age. We appreciate the continued support of the US Embassy in Oman, which makes this collaboration possible.”

H E Leslie Tsou, US Ambassador, said, “Museums are a public good and an important investment. 

Strengthening Oman’s museums preserves Oman’s beautiful culture and links us all to Oman’s rich heritage. Preserving cultural heritage is and will continue to be important to both our countries.”

According to Dr Taylor, “The Smithsonian Institution has a great interest in capacity-building in the museum field. Around the world many cultural traditions, craft techniques, and forms of indigenous music are in danger of being lost, but in our collaboration with the National Museum of Oman, we see professionals, scholars, students, and even ordinary citizens dedicated to preserving Omani history, heritage, culture, and craft, under royal patronage.”

The first lecture was titled  ‘Visitor Services: Greeting, Ticketing, Crowd Management’ and was presented by Dr Taylor. 

He will also present four follow-on lectures on ‘The History of Representing Cultures in Museums and Cultural Centres, with an Introduction to the Smithsonian’; ‘Virtual Exhibitions, and other Museum Uses of the Web’; ‘Program Development: Developing Dynamic Programming and Visitor Engagement’; and ‘Activities of a Modern Museum or Cultural Center: Thriving in the 21st Century’. 

In addition, a sixth lecture will be presented regarding the ‘Exhibition Development: A case study on Money as Material Culture: Collections and Curation at America’s Money Museum’ by Douglas Moud from the Money Museum in Colorado, in the United States.

The seminar series is supported by the US Embassy in Oman with a focus on visitor management, exhibition development, cultural preservation and virtual exhibitions. 

Previously, the US Embassy facilitated similar training opportunities by sending specialists from the National Museum, the National Records and Archive Authority and what was previously the Ministry of Heritage and Culture to the United States for a multi-week International Visitor Leadership Program.

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