Opposite the Palace in Muscat
is Oman’s National Museum; its austere exterior in pale Omani marble is in keeping with the subdued interior.
I was fortunate to be invited to look around the exhibits that are now in the final stages of organization before the public opening. On two floors, the building seems much larger than the exterior would allow. The ground floor includes sections highlighting the Land and the People, Civilization in the Making and a Timeline Gallery.
There is also a Maritime History Gallery, which has a reed boat based on an interpretation of boats during the Majan period in Oman 5,000 years ago.
Upstairs a Prehistory and Ancient History Gallery has an extraordinary display of fine flint tools and weapons, however its their crude predecessor which takes pride of place – it’s a heavy Hand Axe which was dated by them around 2million years ago.
The National Museum will have Arabic, Arabic Braille and English signage which will allow visitors to understand the displays. Naturally, helpful guides can explain areas where other information may be needed.
In the Islamic Gallery is the original Mihrab from the Aweina Mosque of Wadi Bani Khalid. The mosque’s elaborate plaster decoration is embedded with Chinese Ceramic Bowls from the Ming dynasty of China.
One of Oman’s UNESCO World Heritage Site Falaj systems has been wonderfully represented within its oasis at Birkat Al Mawz. Plywood is used very effectively to provide the contours of the mountains which surround the village.
I’m certain that the Museum’s designer, Jasper Jacob, is delighted that his creation will have admiring visitors.