Saudi commission plans to transform museum sector


RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Museums Commission has announced its strategy for the transformation of the sector.

It includes ambitious plans to increase the number and types of museums across the Kingdom and boost visitor numbers. The focus on the nation’s cultural identity will be enhanced through the creation of a series of tangible assets across the country.

“The strategy will bring about best-practice, international-standard advancement in this vital cultural sector,” said Stefano Carboni, the commission’s CEO. “Our strategy will enrich the lives of all who reside in and visit the Kingdom.

“We will develop the sector through inspiring displays and programs, training the first true generation of museum-sector experts, and building diverse cultural platforms that attract local and international culture seekers.

“There are many stories to tell about the Kingdom, its past and its ambitious future, and we are excited for people to visit and experience it for themselves.”

Existing museums in Riyadh will be revised and remodeled, including the National Museum of Saudi Arabia in the city’s historical center, and the Masmak Fort Museum, which showcases a key site and events in the birth of the Kingdom. The plan also sets out significant expansion plans for museums across the country by 2024, including a number of flagship locations and some smaller venues.

The first new museum to open will be a smaller version of the Saudi Arabian Museum of Contemporary Art in the new JAX development in Diriyah. The Black Gold Museum in Riyadh, a permanent museum dedicated to artists’ interpretations of the history of oil, will open soon after in partnership with the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center. In addition, Borderless Jeddah, an immersive digital art space, is due to open in 2022 in partnership with international multimedia collective teamLab.

Medium-term plans include the opening of significant institutions such as the Royal Art Complex Museum, the Digital Art Museum, and the Museum of the Prince Mohammad bin Salman International Center for Arabic Calligraphy.

The strategy also aims to create, expand, curate and preserve collections and to build educational programs across the sector.

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