Hundreds of families celebrated International Museums Day this weekend with a wide range of learning activities organised by Sharjah Museums Department (SMD).
SMD’s purpose-built pavilion at Dubai Festival City featured a variety of interactive displays and shows inspired by the collections and materials found in its portfolio of museums.
Based on the theme Discover What’s Hidden, activities included workshops on writing an ancient script, displays flip boards and light boxes giving information on everything from UAE aviation to classic cars, and even a sky dome decorated with the constellations of the zodiac.
The two-day event was held to mark International Museum Day, which is celebrated by more than 30,000 museums around the world to highlight their role in developing societies.
Manal Ataya, Director General of Sharjah Museums Department, said: “International Museum Day is one of the most important occasions in our calendar of annual events and activities. This year we wanted to take our celebrations outside Sharjah packed with exciting activities and learning opportunities.
“It was wonderful to see people of all ages make new discoveries and experience the variety content in our museums in an interactive way. SMD’s continued objective is to take the museum experience directly into the community. This was a fantastic way to honour that commitment and to celebrate the spirit of International Museum Day.”
International Museum Day is held every year on May 18 by the International Council of Museums (ICOM), an organisation created in 1946 by and for museum professionals. The ICOM has grown to become a unique network of more than 35,000 members and museum professionals who represent the global museum community.
This year, SMD took its celebrations into Dubai with a stunning pavilion in the Dubai Festival City shopping mall.
One of the highlights was a series of workshops that taught visitors how to write in Al Misnad, an ancient text that originated in Yemen and made its way Mleiha, Sharjah. Visitors used templates to write their name on paper or clay for special souvenir from the day.
Another of Mleiha’s treasures, a magnificent gold horse bridle and trappings, gave visitors a glimpse into the wealth of the ancient city’s inhabitants. The piece is replica of the original found in Sharjah Archaeology museum. Meanwhile, visitors got hands on with actual archaeological pieces excavated from Mleiha at a touch board containing items including pottery and decorations.
The learning experiences continued at various interactive information boards placed at the pavilion. Families learned about the Umm Ahmed plane, an aircraft that was named after a baby delivered on board, as well as the beautiful Diwani Arabic script. Other boards covered an Austrian coin that was used in Gulf countries until the 1920s, a famous classic car with a special Royal owner, and the Hanno plane, which in 1932 became the first to land in Sharjah.
One of the most popular features was a huge display within the main dome featuring images the signs of the zodiac. Visitors enjoyed taking selfie photographs with the backdrop of their star sign. And, to celebrate the day in true Emirati style, bands performed two types of traditional dance performed to music.
Throughout the event, teams of guides from SMD were on hand to help visitors get the most out of their experience.
For more information on Sharjah Museums Department, please visit www.sharjahmuseums.ae