The Sharjah Maritime Museum, which closed in November 2007, is scheduled to reopen early next month with more attractions and in a new location. The new centre, which was due to open last September, is next to the emirate's aquarium and will be fully air-conditioned. The previous museum was in an old house in the heritage area, where visitors had to brave the heat to walk between outdoor sections.
"The difference between the old and the new museum is that this is a recent building," said the museum's curator, Khawla al Muhrizi. "The structure of the building is much bigger. People can come here, watch movies. Children can play games on screens, and we will have 'talking heads' from real people who lived through the diving ages." Artefacts, some of which date to the 1950s, will be on display, including ship models, tools and fishing equipment.
Themes include pearling, fishing, archaeology and navigation. "Our goal is to improve the quality of life for all through cultural activities," said Ms al Muhrizi, 28, who has been working for the museum for the past six years. "The maritime has played an important role in our country before, and the Sharjah maritime played an important role to the economic development of our country." Ticket prices have not yet been decided, she said, but there may be a deal with the next-door aquarium.
"The aquarium has a lot of visitors," she said, "so we hope to have as many since we are close. The mission is to serve the community by illustrating, collecting, preserving and presenting our history." Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed, the Ruler of Sharjah, will host the opening ceremony on June 7 at 10am. The opening times will be daily from 8am until 8pm except on Friday, when the museum will close at 4pm.
"The mission of the Sharjah museum department is to deliver the highest quality museums for people and visitors through exhibitions and programmes," Ms al Muhrizi said. "This is all part of what it is." The maritime museum's reopening is part of Sharjah's goal to improve its tourism industry in the next few years. Formal training of tour guides is also part of the plan. @Email:firstname.lastname@example.org