SAUDI ARABIA

Museums Commission sets out path for sector transformation

September 19, 2021
The strategy will see existing museums in Riyadh remodeled and reshaped including the National Museum in the historical center.
The strategy will see existing museums in Riyadh remodeled and reshaped including the National Museum in the historical center.

RIYADH — The Museums Commission has announced its strategy that will transform the sector with ambitious plans to increase the number and typologies of museums and visitors across the Kingdom. The plan will see Saudi Arabia’s museums focus on its cultural identity and translate it into a series of tangible assets across the country.

Commenting on the announcement, Dr. Stefano Carboni, CEO of the Museums Commission, said: “The strategy will bring about best-practice international-standard advancement in this vital cultural sector. 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.”

The strategy will see existing museums in Riyadh remodeled and reshaped including the National Museum in the historical center, and the Masmak Fort Museum that witnessed the birth of the Kingdom in the Ad Dirah district. The plan sets out the significant expansion of museums, especially in the regions, by 2024, including several flagship locations and some smaller venues in the lead up to 2030.

The first new museum to be opened is a smaller version of the Saudi Arabian Museum of Contemporary Art (SAMoCA) in the new JAX development in Ad Diriyah. The Black Gold Museum in Riyadh will open soon after that, which will be a permanent museum dedicated to artists' interpretation of the history of oil, in partnership with the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center.

In addition, teamLab Borderless Jeddah, an immersive digital art space, is planned to open in 2022 in partnership with the Japanese teamLab artists team. Medium-term plans will see 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 will also look to create, expand, curate and preserve collections and to build educational programs across the museum ecosystem.

The Museums Commission’s strategy aligns with the National Strategy for culture and with Saudi Vision 2030. The Kingdom’s cultural vision is built around energizing 16 unique cultural sub-sectors which will facilitate a contribution of more than $23bn to the economy — ~3% of GDP — by 2030 and create more than 100,000 jobs. — SPA


September 19, 2021
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