x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

An exciting line-up of museum events in Sharjah, the Capital of Islamic Culture for 2014

2014 could well be the year of museums – in Sharjah. Head to the emirate for everything from interactive maths displays for kids at the Sharjah Discovery Centre to a new exhibition at the Museum of Islamic Civilization.

The Sharjah Museum for the Art of Arabic Calligraphy will host the Calligraphy Biennial this year. Randi Sokoloff / The National
The Sharjah Museum for the Art of Arabic Calligraphy will host the Calligraphy Biennial this year. Randi Sokoloff / The National

If you make one New Year’s resolution that you really should keep, vow to visit just one of the multitude of museums in Sharjah.

Last year, the emirate welcomed approximately half-a-million visitors across its network of 16 places of historical interest.

Manal Ataya, the department’s director general, believes 2014 will be no less exciting.

A diverse calendar of events

“One of the exhibitions I’m looking forward to is So that you may know each other – the World of Islam from North Africa to China,” says Ataya. “It opens in March at the Museum of Islamic Civilization and is the first time an exhibition in collaboration with the Ethnological Museum of the Vatican is coming to Sharjah.”

Coming to the Sharjah Archaeology Museum this year is The Treasures of Dilmun: Archaeological Masterpieces from the Kingdom of Bahrain, a collaboration with Bahrain’s Department of Antiquities and Museums.

Why visit a Sharjah museum?

“Because you can learn about our legacy first-hand,” says Ataya. “Hisn Museum, dating back to 1820 and once the residence of the Al Qasimi ruling family, has been refurbished and will reopen this year. Then there’s the Sharjah Heritage Museum, which tells the story of the UAE in an interactive way across six galleries dedicated to everything from Landscape to Traditional Knowledge. And you can learn all about the nation’s seafaring traditions at the Sharjah Maritime Museum.”

What about the kids?

There’s plenty to choose from, including the Sharjah Discovery Centre, with seven themed areas, including one dedicated to the dynamics of water. Al Mahatta Museum, housed in Sharjah’s first airport building, offers displays and activities that introduce children to the history of travel in the UAE.

“The Sharjah Aquarium and the Maritime Museum also tend to be popular because they are family oriented,” says Ataya. “Seeing an underwater world is something many people find magical and ­exciting.”

Summer and winter camps are also held at various venues, ensuring children continue to learn outside school.

• Most museums are open six days a week. Entrance ranges from free to Dh20. Visit www.sharjahmuseums.ae for more information

artslife@thenational.ae