Museums in Cyprus by YIANIS TOUMAZIS

A. For a Cypriot museographical map Cyprus, this small island at the eastern end of the Mediterranean, has always been between the East and the West, the last stopping point of the Crusaders before reaching the Holy Land. Third in size after Sicily and Sardinia, it has attracted the interest of many different people throughout […]


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Museums and Memorials of Iran 1935 to 1979 By Nader Ardalan

Fellow, Center for Middle Eastern Studies Harvard University This is a brief review of five decades of the architecture of museums and memorials designed in Iran during a period of major cultural transitions. It may be instructive to also review the four major architectural trends or theories that were also in play worldwide during these […]


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Museums in Egypt at a Crossroad? by SUSAN KAMEL

Egypt, with its millennia of recorded history, its pyramids, and the legacy of its pharaohs, draws millions of visitors each year. This mass tourism is a consequence of globalisation and has a lasting influence on Egyptian society: Almost every fifth Egyptian is employed in the tourism sector. In this regard, museums are of particular importance, […]


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Syria’s National Museum by HUGH MACLEOD

On a wall in Damascus a bush is burning. Suleiman, in his wisdom, advises the butchering of children to solve maternal disputes, while Abraham heads off up the hill to sacrifice his only son. Moses, meanwhile, has taken his shoes off and is breaking the golden cow before floating slowly along the blessed banks. “All […]


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Challenging Censorship in the Middle East Museums as Knowledge and Network by JEGAN VINCENT DE PAUL & ALIA FARID ABDAL

Contemporary museums are no longer merely spaces for the passive viewing of historical artifacts of cultural significance. Increasingly, the museum’s role as a site of education and cultural engagement is expanding to actively involve the communities they serve. The power of the internet and other network communications technologies has radically changed how societies function, and […]


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Virtually Speaking: The Museum as Majilis by SETH THOMPSON

Capitalizing on the successes of other cities that have employed star architects to design trophy museum buildings, Abu Dhabi appears to have embarked on a similar initiative to jump-start cultural tourism with its Saadiyat Island Cultural District. This initiative has commissioned such notable architects as Frank Gehry and Jean Nouvel to create memorable buildings that […]


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A Brief Look at the History of Museums in the Region and Wider Middle East, by PAMELA ERSKINE-LOFTUS

In the February 2007 edition of The Art Newspaper the general editorial director wrote in an editorial on the recent announcement of the Louvre Abu Dhabi: “We should all rejoice that the rich Gulf States are beginning to look to the West to give themselves some cultural depth.1”  Aside from the blatant disregard for the extent of ‘cultural […]


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In the Middle of the Museum: Display I – V, SUSANNE WEISS

The circle of coins in the collage “Expedition” by Sophie-Therese Trenka-Dalton shows the full set of Iraqi Dinar coins until the fall of Saddam Hussein 2003. Since then these are out of circulation: Displacing an object somewhere and displaying it elsewhere has a long tradition since the Age of Enlightenment. After returning home from a […]


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Museums of the Middle East: criss-crossing cultural identities,GEORGE KATODRYTIS

Early museums began as private collections for objects of significance for public viewing. In such environments, the object is removed in time, place and circumstance from its original context and becomes a tool of communication and representation. This makes the museum a hybrid of multiple interpretations. Yet museums are the new 21st century cultural enterprises […]


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The City of the Future, Lord Foster

Like many Middle-Eastern states, Abu Dhabi built its modern economy on oil production. However, it is unique in the region in recognising that we must develop alternative energy models if we are to reduce the environmental impact of our contemporary lifestyles. The Masdar Initiative in Abu Dhabi was established in order to promote renewable energy […]


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