MANAH – His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik today patronised the official opening of Oman Across Ages Museum in the Wilayat of Manah, Governorate of A’Dakhiliyah.
Upon His Majesty’s arrival at Oman Across Ages Museum, he was received by Nasr Hamoud Al Kindi, Secretary General of the Royal Court Affairs, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Museum and Chairman of the Main Committee of the Museum’s Project, members of the Main Committee and the Director General of the Museum.
His Majesty the Sultan headed to the museum’s memorial plaque, where he switched on the light of the plaque, marking the official opening of the museum.
Then His Majesty the Sultan viewed the exhibition of the foundation stone of Oman Across Ages Museum, passing by the vehicle that was once used by the late Sultan Qaboos bin Said when the latter laid the foundation stone of the museum.
After that, His Majesty the Sultan visited the Reception section, where the first ticket of entry to the museum was issued in the name of His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik, who presented the ticket as a gift to the museum, to be added to the museum’s collections.
His Majesty the Sultan passed through the Arts Corridor to the National Day screen whose dimensions, measuring 18 metres by 11 metres, symbolize the glorious National Day (18 November).
There, His Majesty the Sultan listened to Oman Across Ages Museum’s speech delivered, on behalf of the main committee of the museum project, by Eng. Al Yaqdhan Abdullah Al Harthi, Director General of the Museum. Eng. Al Yaqdhan said that the museum advocates the use of the latest technologies in its presentations, represented by a set of valuable holdings that indicate the depth and authenticity of Omani history.
In his speech, Eng. Al Yaqdhan said that the design of the museum’s building was inspired by the grandeur of Al Hajar Mountains. He observed that the edifice is associated with the Omani environment through the type of materials used in its construction.
Eng. Al Yaqdhan voiced the committee’s gratitude to His Majesty the Sultan for his constant support towards the accomplishment of this monument.
Then, His Majesty the Sultan watched a familiarization film about the Oman Across Ages Museum. The informative film outlined the architectural aspects of the museum and the use of modern interactive technologies employed in presenting ancient civilizations in a chronological sequence. It displays antiques from each era and chronicles the diverse facilities housed by the museum.
After that, His Majesty the Sultan toured the corridors of the museum. He listened to a summary of the most prominent pavilions in the “Gallery of History”, the “Gallery of the Blessed Renaissance” and the “Gallery of the Future”. The latter exhibits projects that won awards at the second round of the Bilarab Bin Haitham Award for Architectural Design.
His Majesty Sultan also visited the lecture hall and the “Ideas and Innovation Labs” at the Knowledge Centre. There, he listened to briefings about a number of innovations and student projects from the schools of the A’Dakhiliyah Governorate.
At the conclusion of the opening ceremony, His Majesty the Sultan received a commemorative gift from Oman Across Ages Museum. The gift, a model of Oman Across Ages Museum, was presented to His Majesty the Sultan by Nasr Hamoud Al Kindi, Secretary General of the Royal Court Affairs.
In a symbolic gesture, His Majesty the Sultan offered his own personal cane as a gift to the museum, to be added to the monument’s holdings.
Before leaving the premises of the museum, His Majesty was briefed about an ancient limestone rock from Wadi Lahjaij in the Governorate of Dhofar that figured among the collections. The rock bears a set of primitive drawings.
The official opening ceremony was attended by some Royal Family members, the Chairmen of the State Council and the Shura Council, Ministers, heads of security and military units and other officials and dignitaries.
Oman Across Ages Museum was set up in implementation of the Royal orders of the late Sultan Qaboos bin Said, who laid the foundation stone for the project on 14 July 2015.
Given the project’s significance to the late His Majesty Sultan Qaboos, the museum was located near Hisn Al Shomoukh. The Wilayat of Manah has a strategic location in the heart of Al Dakhiliyah Governorate. This lends the museum an ideal position in the proximity of many other tourist attractions in the Wilayat of Manah and Al Dakhiliyah Governorate. The project also constitutes a cornerstone for other tourism, cultural and economic projects in the governorate.
Oman Across Ages Museum is envisioned to be a world-class destination that will contribute to spreading awareness and consolidate the attachment of Omani youths with their country’s cultural heritage, encouraging them to interact and contribute effectively to building their homeland and shaping its features.
The museum also aims to highlight the unique character of the Sultanate of Oman and to portray its advantages, its ancient history and its renaissance, which keeps gaining grounds locally and internationally.
The idea of the museum’s design was derived from the shape of the Omani rocks and Al Hajar Mountains range. The edifice picks up from the ground and extends to the top in a unique design that reflects the Omani environment. The project also merges into the Omani environment through the stones used in its construction and its trees.
The museum halls take the visitor around on a narrative journey through time, starting from the late prehistoric eras until the present day. The permanent exhibition wings are divided into two: The History Gallery and the Renaissance Gallery.
The History Gallery deals with several epochs and historical eras, namely, the geological formation of the Land of Oman, the Stone Age, represented by the wing of the Early settlers, the Bronze Age, represented by the wing of the Civilization of Magan, the Iron Age, represented by the wing of the Kingdom of Oman, in addition to pavilions titled “Embracing Islam”, the “Al Ya’ariba Dynasty” and the “Al Busaidi Dynasty”.
The presentations in the History Gallery are based on digital media to create multi-dimensional virtual environments that enable the visitors to experience events of each era. It also documents evidence and maps to provide a state of realism.
The pavilions house a number of antiques and presentations on various topics and archaeological sites such as settlements of Ras Al Hamra and Ras Al Jinz and aspects of life at that time, including seasonal migrations, maritime communication, copper trade and the construction of the Aflaj water system. They also contain a highly accurate virtual environment that documents Omani people’s contribution to Islam, as well as aspects of intellectual, political, social, and economic life related to those interactions. The pavilions document the contribution of Omani scholars.
The Renaissance Gallery was designed in the form of an open space with gigantic columns in the centre which form an interactive space for the presentation of the high-resolution audio-visual display system that deals with the first five years of the blessed renaissance. This offers a panoramic view of the hall and consummates the visitor’s experience as it explores various aspects of social, economic, industrial, and political transformation experienced by Oman, while at the same time preserving its authentic identity and ancient cultural traditions.
The gallery contains interactive digital museum tools that display the speeches of His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik and the speeches of the late Sultan Qaboos bin Said. It also comprises pillars of the blessed renaissance, including education, healthcare, infrastructure, foreign relations, tourism and economy.
Knowledge Centre is divided into three floors targeting all segments of society. It occupies a total area of 6000 sqm.
The ground floor comprises two laboratories and a large lecture hall, as well as a classroom fitted with appropriate tools and books dedicated to children. The Innovation Laboratory and the Ideas Laboratory are designed for children aged 3 to 14 years.
While the first and second floors include the Library of Hisn Al Shomoukh, which was transferred from Hisn Al Shomoukh to Oman Across Ages Museum. The library contains more than 46,000 titles in various areas of knowledge and it is equipped with devices that allow researchers to access their desired titles and reference books in hard copy and digital copy. The museum also contains facilities that serve visitors and provide them with the means of comfort. The museum provides special rooms as a free service for visitors who can leave their bags and belongings there before starting their tour. The service is available during the museum’s working hours from nine in the morning until nine in the evening.
The museum includes a lecture hall that can accommodate 319 people. The hall gains spectacular view to an outdoor garden surrounding the museum building and is equipped with illumination, acoustic equipment and internet, in addition to places designated for translation.
The museum includes an Innovation Laboratory dedicated to educational programmes, including those implemented by the Oman Across Ages Museum, or programmes of community institutions that participate in achieving educational benefits for various segments of society. The lab, which is located at the ground floor, occupies an area of 149 sqm and it can accommodate 62 people.
The museum allocates special places for children. It includes an Ideas Lab for Children aged 3 to 14 years old. The lab is equipped with advanced educational equipment and it is designed to host and hold workshops and educational programmes for children of different ages. The lab is located on the ground floor. It occupies an area of 143 sqm and it can accommodate 56 people.
The museum also includes a multi-purpose hall equipped with the latest technological equipment. The hall is used for hosting lectures, conferences or workshops. It occupies a total area of 1,200 sqm and it can accommodate about 600 people.
Oman Across Ages Museum constitutes an appropriate welcoming place for all segments of society. It provides all facilities for its visitors, including people with disabilities, with paintings and texts written in Braille, tactile models similar to the museum’s original possessions, electronic audio devices, wheelchairs and golf carts for transportation.
While the museum store offers a number of museum-specific products as gifts to visitors. It also provides Omani products such as pottery, palm leaves and various handicraft products. A contract was signed with a small and medium enterprise to provide these products from various governorates of the Sultanate of Oman.
Meanwhile, the First Aid Centre provides necessary medical services in case any visitor suffers any injury or any emergency circumstance. The centre is equipped with all necessary medical tools and equipment, in addition to an ambulance and a medical staff qualified to provide primary medical care.
The museum has a café that provides visitors with delicious traditional and international food and drinks. The cafeteria is located next to the Reception Desk and close to the Multi-Purpose Hall. It has an area of 305 sqm. In addition, there is a place called “Sabla Café” near the lake and it provides coffee drinks, sweets and snacks. It is set up on an area of 144 sqm. Self-service machines for some drinks and snacks are also available at the Knowledge Centre.
The museum includes a garden where the visitors can relax. The garden is located at the back of the museum. Its design replicates Omani nature. It has terraces, seats, a long walkway and a set of trees reflecting the country’s natural environment. The most important trees in the garden include frankincense trees and date palm trees. The garden also includes a falaj that runs over a distance of one kilometer.
The garden contains a limestone rock belonging to Wadi Lahjaij in the Dhofar Governorate. The rock weighs 75 tons. It contains a group of drawings that were engraved using hammering on the surface of the rock, as well as images of human beings and some animals such as ibex and camel feet. The drawing includes some letters of the alphabet, shapes, circular lines, and shapes of celestial bodies, in addition to drawing the shape of the sun.
Oman Across Ages Museum pavilions entertain the visitors through the use of the latest modern technologies, including Projection Mapping, LCD screens, and LED screens with an area of approximately 800 sqm. The museum allows visitors to enjoy approximately 310 very large film materials, starting with interactive game technologies for children, documentaries, 2D and 3D technical drawings and amazing shots and scenes.
The museum boasts more than 1,200 devices to operate various display methods to provide the visitors with an enjoyable experience. It uses the curved-screen technology at an angle of 360 degrees, which allows the visitor to turn around in front and watch a movie about the era of the Al Ya’ariba, for example. The projectors use virtual reality technology consisting of multiple screens that contain hanging cameras. In the Early Settlers pavilion within the History Gallery, the visitors move the screen over parts of the museum to see the early settlers of Ras Al Hamra and experience their lifestyle.
The Royal Decree No. 15/2023 stipulated the establishment of Oman Across Ages Museum under the honorary patronage of His Majesty the Sultan. It also stated that the museum should enjoy a legal entity and administrative and financial autonomy. The museum would have a board of trustees headed by the Secretary General of the Royal Court Affairs.
The museum will open its doors to visitors with effect from Saturday March 18, 2023.