final issue 30 web - Flipbook - Page 56
What can we learn
from the museum and
heritage sector in the
20 years ago, the Middle East was perhaps most commonly associated with
war and oil. And, while those connotations may remain – at least in part –
the Gulf States have witnessed an explosion in museums and galleries over the
past two decades.
While Cairo, Damascus and Tehran were once
the cultural capitals of the Middle East, a shift in
immigration policies, coupled with an economic
boom, has served to draw attention to the wider GCC
in particular – with collectors and museum professionals flocking to the province.
Go big – or go home
As the popular culture saying goes, as the Middle East
continues to experience economic prosperity and an
uplift in tourism, the opportunity to showcase a
country’s rich heritage becomes apparent. And the
region is not one to do things by halves.
And since the turn of the millennium, the area
has been investing in a colossal museum-building
campaign, with prize-winning architects drafted in to
design elaborate structures, and UK firms appointed
to help turn that vision into a reality.
The Emirates in particular have a diverse story to tell
– both culturally and economically – and, with most
generations having seen a complete transformation
their ‘normal’, the investment into buildings, museums, cultural fairs and expos are making the most of
this incredible upturn in opportunity.
Now, an extensive range of attractions across the
countries of the Middle East pay homage to thousands
of years of Arab history. Highly prized artefacts housed
inside architectural masterpieces offer some of the
best-curated collections in the world. But how do they
do it so well?
Above, Sheikh Abdullah Al Salem Cultural Centre