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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 16 February 2019

Mobile bus museum a first for pupils in Sharjah

Exhibits include replicas of early gliders and navigational aids

The bus has been nicknamed the Museums Express
The bus has been nicknamed the Museums Express

Dozens of pupils in Sharjah have enjoyed a first for the emirate after visiting a mobile museum.

The converted 47-seater bus pulled into Wadi Al Helo school last week to show off its debut exhibition based around the history of science and exploration.

The new initiative is part of plans to broaden access to the UAE’s cultural heritage, encouraging leaning and creative thinking.

The bus – called the Museums Express – is set to tour schools across the central and eastern parts of Sharjah throughout this year.

Inside the exhibition which will tour Sharjah throughout this year
Inside the exhibition which will tour Sharjah throughout this year

“It’s a brilliant idea that’s really interesting because it’s so different,” said Ahmad Al Mazroui, a ninth grade pupil.

“I visited a museum in Sharjah once before but it’s the first time I’ve ever seen anything like this.”

The Museums Express was set up by the Sharjah Museums Authority (SMA) in partnership with Bee’ah, a UAE recycling and waste management firm.

The scheme aims to highlight some of the country’s more unusual museum pieces, showing off its exhibits to a wider audience.

The first phase of the project will see the bus visit 14 schools within Sharjah's eastern central region.

A second phase is expected to see the scheme expanded to include other schools in different parts of the country.

On board the bus, pupils can see a range of exhibits and artefacts, a number of which are loosely based around early inventions.

Objects include a replica Astrolabe, an instrument used by astronomers and navigators from the 10th Century onwards to measure altitude above the horizon.

Also included is a model of a compass that once belonged to the Arab cartographer Ahmad bin Majid in the mid-15th Century.

Known as the Lion of the Sea, some historians have credited him with helping Western explorers navigate their way from Africa to India for the first time.

One of the pieces on display is a model of a compass that once belonged to Arab cartographer Ahmad bin Majid
One of the pieces on display is a model of a compass that once belonged to Arab cartographer Ahmad bin Majid

A third object on display is a model replica of a glider designed and built by Otto Lilienthal in 1894.

The German pioneer of aviation who was born in the mid-19th Century dedicated his life to the pursuit of flight.

“Museum collections should be accessible to all members of the community,” said Manal Ataya, director general of SMA.

“The Museums Express provides accessibility for those who reside in areas far from the centre of the city.”

A replica of a glider designed and built by German aviation pioneer Otto Lilienthal
A replica of a glider designed and built by German aviation pioneer Otto Lilienthal

Khaled Al Huraimel, group CEO of Bee’ah, said Sharjah’s rich history deserved a greater focus.

“We believe this project will consolidate Sharjah’s position as the cultural capital of the Arab world,” he said.

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