The key role played by the sea in the development of Sharjah is celebrated by the new Maritime Museum ,which opened yesterday. It is expected to boost the emirate's tourism industry, offering visitors another place to learn about the country's heritage. The museum is located next to Sharjah's aquarium, which has attracted one million visitors in the past year, and the curator, Khawla al Muhrizi, expects to draw a similar number. The new museum includes traditional wooden seafaring dhows used for fishing, trading and pearling, boat building, diving tools and photographs of famous sailors and captains.
There are traditional craft such as Al Sama'a, the biggest diving ship, displayed in the centre of the museum hall. Interactive touch screens offer an insight into the history of maritime life in both Arabic and English, and include interviews with boat builders, pearl traders and merchants. Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed, the Ruler of Sharjah, who opened the museum, said he was keen that the maritime heritage of the region should have a distinguished position among the museums of Sharjah and serve as an important attraction for visitors.
The original maritime museum was in the heritage area, in an old building that lacked air conditioning and housed fewer artefacts. It closed in Nov 2007. The new museum is open from 8am until 8pm daily except on Fridays, when it closes at 4pm. Admission is free until the end of June, and after that will be no more than Dh10 per person. firstname.lastname@example.org