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Mohammed Abdul Karim Al Shahi

OMAN - Tourism

Mohammed Abdul Karim Al Shahi

General Manager, Bait Al Zubair Museum


Prior to joining Bait Al Zubair Foundation, Mohammed Abdul Karim Al Shahi worked in the Ministry of Education as a deputy manager in high secondary school division. He has also worked as general manager of National Youth Commission and at the State Council as a consultant in the chairman office. He holds a bachelor’s degree in education from Sultan Qaboos University, MBA-HRM degree from Liverpool University, and a PhD in business and management from London-based Brunel University. He is also a member of several national committees such as the Central Committee of Studies and Research of the Ministry of Culture and Heritage and the Lyrics and Poems Committee in the Ministry of Culture. Al Shahi has been a jury member on events such as the Literary Forum Competition in 2006 and the eighth Omani Poetry Festival in 2012.

Bait Al Zubair Museum has expanded into a cultural landmark in the country, always at the forefront of Oman's continuous pursuit of societal and cultural enrichment and development.

How has the institution worked to preserve and promote cultural heritage in Oman since its establishment?

Since its opening in 1998, Bait Al Zubair has gradually and systematically transitioned from a museum to a wider scope of activities. In 2005, the Bait Al Zubair Foundation was established as the cultural and social arm of the family-owned business, the Zubair Corporation. The foundation manages cultural aspects and develops projects related to culture and heritage, arts, community, history, and publishing. During the last few years, the Bait Al Zubair Foundation has grown and branched out its activities to become one of the leading cultural hubs, not only in Oman but also in the region. As a non-profit organization and foundation, we have strived to always be at the forefront of Oman’s continuous pursuit of societal and cultural enrichment and development.

What strategies does the museum employ to promote both traditional and contemporary Omani culture?

The Bait Al Zubair Foundation focuses its scope of activities around its three main operational sectors, namely art, culture, and heritage. The implementation phase of activities within these sectors is achieved through our cultural labs (youth, children, art, translation, theater, and poetry). These labs are responsible for implementing various types of activities related to the aforementioned sectors through workshops, seminars, symposiums, events and publications. The museum and exhibitions team, work in parallel to these labs and collaborate with Gallery Sarah to focus on the provision of high-caliber art and heritage exhibitions that promote both traditional and contemporary Omani culture.

How does Bait Al Zubair work to promote Oman’s cultural heritage abroad?

Promoting Omani culture abroad is one of the steadfast objectives for Bait Al Zubair, with efforts catered toward accomplishing it via different means. Partnerships are the primary method to propagate the Omani culture abroad. A perfect example of this step is the collaboration of the museum with the University of Illinois to loan artifacts for display throughout museums in the US from 2017 to 2018. Foreign event participations are also a focal point toward realizing this goal. Another essential part of Bait Al Zubair’s efforts toward regional and international exposure is by partnering with embassies and international entities within Oman, such as the Italian Embassy in Muscat and the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization.

The museum uses various cultural labs that engage in different forms of art and culture. How have these evolved since the museum was founded?

Since the introduction of the cultural labs, it has evolved in a way to organize significant events that take place on an annual or bi-annual basis. Two notable examples are the Youth Forum, which sees over 50 students each year from different universities and schools, becoming the focal event for the Youth Lab; and Round Theater Days, which comprise the best local theatrical performance groups in Oman for a three-day competition, a key event for the Theater Lab. In terms of our outlook on Oman’s artistic and cultural ecosystem, the Sultanate is on the right path, especially with the new government transition and its new direction.

How has the museum and its collections adapted to technological advances in today’s digital world?

The foundation and the museum are navigating gradually toward efforts aimed at introducing technology to its different sectors. This is because our identity is that of traditional Omani architecture and culture, which is a challenge to maintain with the ever-changing technological advancements. With this in mind, we are subtly employing technological solutions, based on extensive research, deftly and effectively. We specifically focus on the virtual world as a new platform for our activities to reach our audience. This also serves as a way to enhance our digital content through a wide range of mainstream social media platforms, as well as a means to develop and come up with strategies and structures to implement virtual visits to the museum.



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