The Sharjah Museums Department, founded in 2006 with a mandate to support Emirati, Arab and Islamic heritage and to further the appreciation of culture and the arts among the community, has over the years managed and developed 16 of the region’s best museums, covering science, the arts, archaeology, Islamic civilisation, the marine world, calligraphy, and Sharjah’s history.
The anniversary will be an occasion to also plan its strategy over the next decade. Objectives include expanding its public education programme, increasing specialised training for tour guides and curators, improving museum accessibility, and hosting more prestigious local and international exhibitions.
A fun educational competition will be held on May 18. Visitors will be set a series of physical and intellectual challenges that will take them on a thrilling journey through museums in the heart of Sharjah.
SMD’s development over the past ten years has seen it develop into a well-structured governmental department with clearly-defined roles for its sub-departments and 16 museums. The past four years have seen the reopening of Sharjah Heritage Museum and Sharjah Classic Cars Museum, as well as the completion of the Sharjah Fort restoration project and museum reinterpretation and design.
Since its inception in 2006, SMD has increased visitor numbers by about 60 per cent. One of SMD’s main achievements has been to attract exhibitions from some of the most prestigious museums in the world, including, The Tate, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Vatican Museums, the Berlin Museum of Islamic Art, the Cobra Museum of Modern Art, Netherlands, and the Gibran National Committee, Lebanon.
It has also entered into international partnerships with organisations including the Berlin State Museums and the Goethe Institute, as well as the Museum with No Frontiers NGO. Many local partnerships have also been built, including with the University of Sharjah, Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services, Sharjah Education Zone and the Mohammed Bin Rashid Smart Learning Program.
SMD’s achievements have extended to social responsibility initiatives including marine clean ups, blood donation campaigns, and Iftar events for the elderly and orphans. It has also made its museums more accessible to people with different disabilities through such initiatives as Touch Tours for the visually impaired, material in large print and Braille, tour guides who use sign language, and workshops specially geared towards the disabled.
For more information about Sharjah Museums Department, please visit www.sharjahmuseums.ae