National Museum, Smithsonian Conclude Seminar Series Highlighting Oman-US Relations

Muscat, The National Museum, in collaboration with the Smithsonian Institution – the world’s largest museum and research complex and the United States’ preeminent cultural centre– and the U.S. Embassy in Oman, has concluded a series of six lectures on 21st century curatorship for Omani museum professionals, specialists and students.

The series is another sign of the strong partnership between the Sultanate of Oman and the United States.

The lectures were hosted by Dr. Paul Michael Taylor, an anthropologist who is Curator for Asian, European, and Middle Eastern Cultures, as well as Director of the Asian Cultural History Program at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. He led a team of experts to share new research, museum technologies, and insights to advance cultural studies at museums and historic sites. Under Dr. Taylor’s leadership, the Asian Cultural History Program has hosted “Heritage” projects focused on research, exhibition, collection improvements, virtual engagement, and international outreach and training in various regions of the world.

The last lecture, titled ” The Activities of a Modern Museum or Cultural Center: Thriving in the 21st Century” focused on how museums function as cultural centres and on modern museum curation. The lecture highlighted several examples from Indonesia, during a period of rapid expansion of a national museum system, surveying outreach, research, and development of collections. Dr. Taylor explained why and how specific initiatives are selected as means of achieving the goal of having a museum thrive as a cultural centre – illustrating the process of how two Smithsonian exhibitions and initiatives were selected (on Sikh and Korean heritage). Finally, he briefly initiated a discussion (“Virtual Roundtable”) about how the themes of this webinar series may be applied to the Smithsonian partnership with Oman through exploring potential ideas for the future.

This initiative, supported by the US Embassy in Muscat, focuses on visitor management, exhibition development, cultural preservation and virtual exhibitions. Previously, the U.S. Embassy facilitated similar training opportunities by sending specialists from the National Museum, the National Records and Archive Authority and what was previously the Ministry of Heritage and Culture to the United States for a multi-week International Visitor Leadership Program.

Source: Oman News Agency