Representing Women and People with Disabilities at the National Museum in Oman
Al Balushi, Noora
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This thesis investigates the position of the National Museum of Oman as it opens its doors among the perceived ‘Museum Boom’ in the Gulf Cooperation Council States. Although describing itself as a ‘national’ museum set up in accordance to a Royal Decree set by the Sultan Qaboos himself, its constant remarks in the media that the National Museum follows the International Council of Museum’s Standards (ICOM) is its way of legitimizing itself in the sphere of the region’s newly established global museums, as well as the western Museum world. Through two case studies, the paper focuses on women and people with disabilities as two underrepresented groups that are being highlighted at the National Museum, subtly promoting women and disability rights while setting the standards for future museums in Oman. Finally, the paper attempts to set the foundations for what will be labeled ‘Khaleeji Museology’, museological practices specific to the Khaleej (Arab Gulf/Persian Gulf Region) as we utilize the Arabic term to politically neutralize the term while viewing the various ways through which historically Eurocentric museological practices remain in constant conversation with local cultural practices and how they are transformed within the National Museum of Oman.