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National Museum of Oman

Front of the National Museum of Oman

Visit the National Museum of Oman

As the Omani government pushes for more tourism, the number of visitors to the country continues to grow.  The country that people barely knew about even only a few years ago is becoming more and more famous with each passing year.  Even the late Anthony Bourdain covered the Sultanate of Oman on his Parts Unknown show. Oman’s history is rich and replete with cultural gems.  If you’re planning to visit Oman for the first time, your best bet is to begin with the National Museum of Oman.

Contents of the national museum

The National Museum of Oman opened on July 30, 2016 and is the main museum in the Sultanate of Oman.  It covers all things Oman from prehistory to contemporary times. The first floor focuses on the land of Oman and its people.  Here you can find cultural items such as traditional clothing, jewelry, and weaponry. One thing about Oman is that there are many forts scattered throughout the Sultanate.  As you make your way through the museum, you’ll see replicas of these forts (scaled down to size of course) and these can make for a better appreciation of the architecture from the past.  There’s also a giant, interactive touch screen map that covers the entire area of Oman. When you click on a specific city or region, an infographic pops up to give you information about the place.  

Traditional Omani clothes
Decorations for the head / hair
Replica of Nizwa fort
Replica of Rustaq fort

Learning about the restoration process

Another interesting exhibit at the National Museum of Oman is the restoration exhibit.  Here, you can learn how archeologists, scientists, and experts at the museum restore discovered items.  A video shows the process necessary and many of the artifacts that have been restored are on display in this exhibit.  

A seafaring people

A traditional style boat

One very interesting part of the National Museum of Oman is in the maritime section.  Oman has a strong history of ship building and of being seafaring people. The Sultanate once stretched from east Africa to India.  In this section, there are ships of different styles and sizes including a huge, life-sized one. However, the interesting part, tucked away in a corner, is an exhibit that contains massive clay jugs from Mahut, Oman.  These are from 3-4ft. high and almost just as wide at its broadest. Although there are theories about what these were used for, it is not definitively known.  

Giant jugs from Mahut, Oman

Upon exiting the maritime section, you’ll find a small movie theater.  The theater shows a cultural movie that celebrates Oman and covers some important aspects of the country such as its heritage, wildlife, nature, and the like.   

The al-Busaid dynasty

One area of the museum that I really enjoy relates to the history of the al-Busaid dynasty.  There’s a timeline of the dynasty along with pictures of former rulers of Oman. It really puts the country into perspective and shows how power changed and how the country transitioned over time to become what it currently is.  

Be sure to visit!

The National Museum of Oman is the ideal first stop for any visitor to the country.  It serves as a way to introduce you to the country, its people, their culture and more.  The museum becomes a foundation on which you can build your trip in the days (or even weeks) after you first arrive.  Once you learn about the country through the museum, you’ll be able to have a richer experience when exploring Oman. If you decide to visit the Sultanate, be sure to make the National Museum of Oman your first stop.   

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