With a title very much in the vein of the fashionable ‘re-‘s’ (reclaiming, reinventing, reimagining, redefining, etc., words that do not always mean that much; for instance what is reimagining a museum? And why specially museums in the Arab peninsula?), this yet is a highly interesting book publication, with a lot of worthwhile skilled original contributions.

Beware: the book is quite expensive, officially 89 USD, for a paperback, on Amazon.com 80 USD.

For its upcoming publication Museums and the Material World: Collecting the Arabian Peninsula, to be published in early 2014, MuseumsEtc has issued a call for papers. Authors are not paid but have the pleasure of seeing their papers published in print.


About Reimagining Museums, the publisher’s press bulletin states the following:

“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 groundbreaking 704-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 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.


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



Author: Neil
Location: Posted on: Thursday, July 18th, 2013