One of the scale model displays animated by a sound and light show as one passes through the museum. Photo by RK

 

The National Memorial Museum (Bait al Watani) is a privately-owned and managed museum dedicated to the 1990-91 invasion of Kuwait and its subsequent liberation. Given the general amnesia which officially seems to cover this dark period of the country’s history, the effort of the museum’s owners are laudable; even though one will not encounter much of counter-narrative here.

The central display consists of elaborate scale models of different scenes of the invasion. The visitor should insist to see this accompanied by the sound and light show. All lights turn off, and while an American voice (or Arabic) narrates the different phases of the invasion, the occupation and the liberation, light and dramatic sound effects focus the visitor’s sight on the appropriate scenes. See a short clip here. The fireworks after the successful liberation are particularly touching.

The amateurish, almost outsider-art like approach of this museum is entertaining and inspiring, but the documentation is truly interesting too, to anybody interested in understanding more about what the Gulf War did with this tiny country.

It is advisable to call before going, to ensure that the museum is open and that the sound/light effects will be on.

 

Written by: RobertK Last modified: 5th Nov 2012
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