By Joey Aguilar
Oral history is going to play a very important role in the under-construction National Museum of Qatar (NMoQ), HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, chairperson of Qatar Museums (QM), said yesterday.
The idea is to build the museum like a research hub where people can listen “to all versions of the truth”, she told the “Generations of Culture” panel discussion at Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q).
“We are opening the museum with the assumption that people will say this is not true or this is wrong because you get different stories from different people stating the same time, period and so forth,” she explained at the “Generations of Culture” panel discussion.
Sheikha Al Mayassa was answering a question raised by a Qatari male student who believed there was a huge gap in Qatar’s history due to the fact that the stories told verbally by elders were not yet written down.
The GU-Q student felt the young generations seemed to be losing these stories passed from generation to generation. He wanted to know the plans of the NMoQ in addressing this issue, citing its huge role in highlighting Qatar’s history and culture.
“I hear stories from my grandfather. These kinds of stories are not written down as I think that people see some kind of a taboo in
writing them down,” he noted.
Sheikha Al Mayassa urged students, especially those who are interested in Qatar’s history, to speak with the NMoQ team.
“If there are specific stories that you would like to be recorded, we will be very much interested to know about them and to see that if there is something that we missed because the narrative really looks at the past, present and future,” she said.
Sheikha Al Mayassa stressed there would be lot of focus on exhibitions to go deeper on subjects since “it is very difficult to go completely in depth in all the subjects if we’re going to tell the whole story.” She said: “Our temporary exhibition will be very active.”
Some of the future projects of QM include the construction of Qatar Olympic and Sports museum, Orientalist museum and Children’s museum.
QM also supports a wide range of programmes and events designed to preserve the country’s cultural and artistic heritage in a bid to encourage a tradition of critical and artistic appreciation.
These include several learning opportunities for families, university students and adults at museums including Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art at Qatar Foundation and the Museum of Islamic Art, as well as at the Fire Station “Artist in Residence” programme, and heritage sites across Qatar.
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