The journey of the National Museum took its first steps in the early 1970s, when His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said expressed his vision of a flagship repository of Oman’s cultural heritage. Decades of planning ensued, growing from tentative discussions to drawn up plans. Gradually, this vision transformed into a remarkable reality in which we take immense pride.
The planning, design and construction of the museum we see today involved an enormous number of moving parts, experts from Oman and around the world convened both in the Sultanate and abroad to begin creating something we knew to be ambitious. We strived to establish an institution par excellence for education and community outreach, and for scientific and historical research. Above all, we strived to create a memorable and authentic experience for Omanis, residents and visitors alike.
That experience tells the story of our nation. It reaches far back into its prehistory, leading us seamlessly into the present day culminating in Oman’s glorious Renaissance. It explores the many facets of Oman: its illustrious maritime history, its glorious architectural heritage, the trade in frankincense, the ingenious aflaj irrigation systems and the indelible mark left by the blessed advent of Islam to our nation. Developed in line with the highest international museum practices, the National Museum is a manifestation of decades of archaeological discoveries and historical research, told from a uniquely Omani perspective. Oman, after all, is a synthesis of its rich cultural heritage of bold seafarers, enterprising merchants and grand visionaries. Each of these elements, and many more, form an enduring part of the fabric of Oman. Similarly, the National Museum’s structure itself is enduring. Situated opposite the Qasr al-’Alam Palace in historic Muscat, the soul of our nation’s capital, its clean and bold lines convey that perfect blend of traditional and contemporary aesthetics that has become Oman’s hallmark. It is within these walls – and beyond – that we will continue to carry our vision, to become a leading Omani museum institution and to set a benchmark for the museums industry in the Sultanate. The official opening of the National Museum took place on 14 December 2015 CE, as part of the nation’s celebration of the 45th National Day, under the auspices of His Highness as-Sayyid Fahd bin Mahmoud al-Said, Deputy Prime Minister for the Council of Ministers. As Chairman of the Board of Trustees, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to my fellow members of the Board of Trustees, for their wisdom and guidance, and to the project team for their diligence and dedication, all of which has been invaluable in transforming this vision into a reality.