Oman Ministry of Heritage and Culture plans to curb antique smuggling
January 17, 2018 | 9:42 PM
by ONA
Salim bin Mohammed Al Mahrouqi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Heritage and Culture for Heritage Affairs said that the ministry was able to successfully protect important features of the Sultanate’s architectural heritage. Photo – ONA

Muscat: Curbing trafficking of antiques will be among the top priorities of the Ministry of Heritage and Culture this year, a senior official of the ministry has said.

The Ministry will also focus on capacity-building in various fields of heritage to enable the management of the national heritage with high efficiency, he said.

The ministry has been able to implement many important programmes and scientific and significant publications that contribute to the cultural and historical role of Oman in the Arabian Peninsula, Salim bin Mohammed Al Mahrouqi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Heritage and Culture for Heritage Affairs told an Arabic newspaper in an interview.

He pointed out that the ministry has basic and vital projects in the heritage structure, including the construction of new museums, such as the Natural History Museum and the Maritime History Museum, the establishment of modern stores for conservation and restoration. It will also organise collections and antiquities, which are considered as an essential national treasure.

He said that the ministry will work to organise exhibitions in the Sultanate and museum exhibitions outside the Sultanate, in cooperation with international museums. It will also establish modern facilities for the Manuscript House according to best practices. Further, the ministry will establish visitor centres in a number of archaeological and historical sites, especially the sites listed in the World Heritage List.

Al Mahrooqi affirmed that the ministry was able to successfully protect important features of the architectural heritage during the past decades and came out with a good balance, represented in the restoration of 82 castle and fortresses, nearly 200 towers and 52 mosques, a number of walls and markets. Recently, the ministry began to provide limited and selective subsidy for a number of exceptional houses in terms of architectural characteristics that belong to citizens.

He pointed out that the Maritime Museum’s general plan, which will be completed by the end of this year, is currently under preparation. A vision is also being developed on how to provide financing by involving the private sector in this important project, which will be held in the Wilayat of Sur. Meanwhile, work is underway in the museum group in terms of selection and classification, so that the rehabilitation will coincide with the start of the implementation of the project in its time. He further said that work is underway in the implementation of “Fatih Al Khair Centre” in the Wilayat of Sur after the signing of the sponsorship agreement with the Omani LNG Company while Madha Museum will be opened soon after the completion of the building, the preparation of the exhibition and the rehabilitation of its collection”

Regarding the Children’s Museum, Al Mahrouqi said that an agreement was signed with the French University of Sciences for a consultative study on how to develop it and add new programmes, especially after the establishment of the children’s library, in order to find an integration link with it. He added that the system of innovation and scientific curiosity is also being strengthened, in coordination with the Ministry of Education and the Research Council, in addition to a study of the rehabilitation of the Omani/French Museum’s building, in cooperation with French parties.

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