Reimagining Museums: Practice in the Arabian Peninsula

A uniquely distinguished range of professionals, with senior experience of museums, the arts and heritage in the Gulf and beyond, contribute to Reimagining Museums, a 696-page guide to best practice in "the world's economic powerhouse" - and the thinking and innovation taking place there which are of international importance.

The Gulf States have activated the most explosive museum building boom per capita in history. And with it a fundamental rethinking of museums' role. Currently museums see themselves as a place rather than a process - but there is nothing inherent to the ICOM museum definition which requires a museum to function, engage, or operate in the way Western museums do…

Economic growth in the Gulf States of Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, UAE, Oman and Saudi Arabia is happening at extreme speed, with results both familiar and spectacular: ultra-modern cities, major new tourism destinations, and unprecedented global economic engagement through huge sovereign wealth funds investing worldwide. Mirroring this development, the last five years have also witnessed extensive and rapid growth in museum activity, with the regeneration of existing museums, the founding of major new ones, and the creation of international satellites.

Reimagining Museums - now in this revised, colour edition - is the first book to examine the emerging - and innovative - globally-significant museum developments taking place in this fascinating and increasingly influential region. Ultimately its contents aim to inspire museum practice both in the region and around the world.

The book is a companion volume to Museums and the Material World: Collecting the Arabian Peninsula.

Pamela Erskine-Loftus, independent researcher, New York, USA

1. Understandings of Place and Museum
Contextualizing History: Bahrain’s Innovative Approach to Museum Creation
Alex Aubry, Architect/Editor/Curator/Educator, Chicago, USA Hybrid

Heritage and Cosmopolitanism in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi
Sarina Wakefield, The Open University, UK Impacts of Social Change in

Museum Development
Mona Al Ali, Doctoral candidate, School of Museum Studies, University of Leicester, UK / Sharjah Museums Department, UAE 

Museums and Cultural Institutions: How Collaborative Approaches May Help Museums Reach Their Communities 
Salwa Mikdadi, Independent Art Historian and Curator, Abu Dhabi, UAE 

Museums in Qatar: Creating Narratives at a Time of Global Unease 
Mariam Ibrahim Al-Mulla, Doctoral candidate, History of Art and Cultural Studies, Leeds University, UK / Qatar Museums Authority 

Social Change and the Rules of the Game: A Conversation About Museum Values in the United Arab Emirates 
Marjorie Schwarzer, visiting scholar in museum studies, University of San Francisco, USA
Leigh Markopoulos, Associate Professor, California College of the Arts, USA
Aisha Deemas, Curator, Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization, UAE 

2. Communities and Audiences 
On Uncertain Grounds: Visitor Research and Community Involvement in a Regional Museum Project in Yemen 
Susan Kamel & Christine Gerbich, German Archaeological Institute, Branch Sana'a, Yemen / Technical University Berlin, Germany 

Khasab Castle: A Museum for the Material Culture of the Musandam Peninsula in the Sultanate of Oman 
Marcia Dorr, Abdullah bin Salem Al Zahli, Aisha bint Abdullah Al Thanawi, and Saif bin Khamis Al Rawahi, Ministry of Tourism, Oman 

Six Things We Didn't Know: Researching the Needs of Family Audiences in Qatar 
John Bull & Shaikha Hamad Al Thani, Qatar Museums Authority 

Engaging Visitors, Without an Attraction! 
Sarah Kneebone, Head of Education, and Communication, Oman Botanic Garden 

3. Exhibiting and Educating 
The Relationship Between Museum Architecture, Exhibits and Audience, Using Bait Al Zubair in the Sultanate of Oman as a Case Study 
Sarah White, Arts Advisor/Museum Director, Bait Al Zubair Museum, Oman 

Developing Interactive Exhibits Across Cultures 
Claudia Schleyer, Consultant for Interactive Exhibits, Berlin, Germany 

What Are We Silently Saying? Non-Verbal Communication and Exhibitions 
Pamela Erskine-Loftus, independent researcher, New York, USA 

The Adaptation of Western Museum Education Practices 
Alya Burhaima, Interpretation and Education Manager, Sharjah Museums Department, UAE 

Teaching as Learning: UCL Qatar’s Museum Studies Masters Programme in Qatar One Year On 
Karen Exell, Lecturer in Museum Studies, UCL Qatar 

Artist Encounters: Artist-led Interpretive Programs and Inclusive Practices 
Michelle Dezember, Head of Education and Public Programs, Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Qatar 

Students Are Key! Cooperation in Abu Dhabi 
Jane Bristol-Rhys, Director, Emirati Studies and Museum Studies, Zayed University, Abu Dhabi, UAE 

Professional Reciprocity and its Opportunities 
Sue Underwood, Qatar Museums Authority and Pamela Erskine-Loftus, independent researcher, New York, USA 

Appendix: Names and Nomenclature 

Pamela Erskine-Loftus has worked in museums for fifteen years, holding senior positions in the USA (manager of the Department of Education, MoMA, New York), United Arab Emirates (Sharjah Museums Department), and Qatar (Curator with Qatar Museums Authority). Pamela holds a doctorate in Arabian Peninsula museology, and a Masters in Museum Studies with a dissertation on the effects of the 1991 Gulf War on art museums in Kuwait and Iraq, and has written and presented internationally on aspects of Peninsula museology. 

Title: Reimagining Museums: Practice in the Arabian Peninsula
Editor: Pamela Erskine-Loftus
Pages: 696
Colour illustrations: 52
Size: 203 x 127mm
Date: 2014
Editions: £69 [paperback] | £49 [eBook] 
ISBN: 978-1-910144-19-0 [paperback]

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