The National Museum of Ras Al Khaimah announces its reopening on the 17th of October, welcoming guests to rediscover the iconic museum structure, stemming as far back as 1621, having been restored numerous times as a fort, a residence for the ruling family and as the headquarters for various governmental entities. Today, the museum houses an array of significant archaeological artifacts that provide extraordinary insights into the history and cultural heritage of Ras Al Khaimah, and has established the Emirate as a cultural tourism destination.
As part of the re-opening, the museum will launch its headline exhibition which will delve into the rich history and significance of the iconic date palm tree and its role in shaping the heritage and cultural practices followed in the region. Translated in Arabic as the fruit of the date palm when at its ripe stage, the Tamra exhibition offers extensive insight into why the date palm was included within the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list for Middle East region in 2019. Visitors to the museum will be taken on a journey from centuries past to today set against the backdrop of the date palm tree, from its roots to its leaves, its role in historical events as well as forming the essence of Khaleeji hospitality and contemporary expression today through fine art pieces.
Some of the main artifacts on display include the ‘Mardhouf al-Quwasim’, a coin that was minted in 19th AD, found in the Falaya palace compound, where the peace treaty between the trucial states and the British was signed 200 years ago. Other fascinating artifacts to be viewed are a 4000-year-old date palm seed from the Shamal Bronze Age settlement site, a recent find of a 12th AD gold coin, an array of date palm tree products and a contemporary art collection from Geraldine Chansard, a Ras Al Khaimah based French artist.
The opening will also mark the official announcement of the museum’s new discovery, a madbasa uncovered by archaeologists during the museum building restoration in 2019. The madbasa was a structure found across the Gulf which was used to collect date juice for making date honey over 2,000 years ago. The new inclusion in the museum is thought to date back to before the discovery of oil in the region. The installations prepared inside will introduce visitors to the marvels of nature, through words, illustrations and light installations.
Ahmed Alteneiji, General Director of Antiquities and Museums said, “We are delighted to be reopening the National Museum of Ras Al Khaimah as it offers visitors and residents alike a doorway to the past, through which they can discover the vibrant history of the Ras Al Khaimah and the country. Through the Tamra exhibition, we aim to shine a light on the role of the iconic date palm, in an engaging manner that will resonate with our guests.”
He goes on to add, “The reopening of museum is a symbolic gesture towards the immense archeological and cultural significance of Ras Al Khaimah as evidenced through the recent UNESCO World Heritage tentative list of four of our treasured sites, including Dhayah, Shimal, Al Jazirah Al Hamra and Jupher. Shining an international light on our ancient sites will bring to the forefront, the pivotal roles each have played in shaping the region, distinguishing the Emirate as a destination of cultural significance on the global stage.”
Raki Phillips, CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority shares, “While Ras Al Khaimah has asserted its position as the adventure hub of the region over the past few years, the Emirate’s cultural significance has been on the rise and gaining international appreciation and recognition. We take immense pride in Ras Al Khaimah’s impressive archaeological heritage and rich cultural history, and the reopening of the National Museum of Ras Al Khaimah further enhances this appeal, especially through its newest exhibition. By further developing and diversifying our cultural offering, we can continue to attract a wider range of travellers to the Emirate, creating a well-rounded experience spanning across hospitality, adventure, culture and diverse natural landscapes.”
Open from Saturday to Thursday from 8am to 6pm and on Friday from 9am to 6pm, the museum will implement enhanced hygiene and social distancing efforts to ensure the safety of employees and visitors. The heightened hygiene and social distancing measures include mandating the use of masks for guests, as well as providing gloves, upon request. The museum has put in place a sanitization gate at its entrance, to further cement the safety of guests and employees. In addition to this, social distancing signs have been placed across the premises to ensure that guests maintain the necessary space whilst viewing the attractions.
The reopening aligns with the Emirate’s mandate to highlight its diverse cultural and historical offerings, following the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) announcement that four sites in Ras Al Khaimah will be included within its tentative list of Global Heritage Sites. The sites include Julfar, Shamal, Jazirah Al Hamra and Dhaya, and are amongst the extensive archaeological fortifications, castles and towers dating back to the bronze age, to be experienced in the Emirate.