Sep. 8, 2021


Ahmed Obaid Al Teneiji

UAE

Ahmed Obaid Al Teneiji

Director General, National Museum of Ras Al Khaimah

“We are positive that we will return to normal in 2021 and certainly in 2022.”

BIO

Ahmed Obaid Al Teneiji is the Director General of National Museum of Ras Al Khaimah. He holds a bachelor degree in media & communications from UAE University and a master's degree in business administration from the Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia.


What main challenges did the RAK National Museum have to navigate during this period, and how did you overcome them?

Through the crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic we faced three main challenges. The first concerned security and safety measures required be taken in the department to maintain the safety of workers, employees, and visitors. We also had to determine the workable capacity during our opening period and ensure there are fewer visitors in the galleries, exhibition rooms, and the entrance and corridors of the RAK National Museum. At the same time, we took advantage of the temporary closure to renovate our galleries and perform some maintenance. The RAK National Museum is located in one of the oldest forts in Ras Al Khaimah, which the British attacked in 1890. In 1987, Sheikh Saqr announced it would be the home of the Ras Al Khaimah National Museum. Since then, there have been only a limited number of changes made to the fort, and during the closure we undertook more renovations, maintenance, and restorations that would have been difficult with more visitors.

What are your strategies to promote arts and culture and museums now that the economy is reopening?

During the pandemic, we sought to use another channel to reach our audience and promote the cultural heritage of Ras Al Khaimah, the UAE, and the wider region. We hold numerous seminars and educational workshops on topics related to culture and heritage through our social media and various other channels. We also created a virtual tool for use with regards to exploring the Ras Al Khaimah National Museum and answering visitor questions related to the artifacts in the museum. We also hold a summer camp and a winter camp for students. The virtual camp include many programs and classes on handicrafts. We also cooperate with a range of heritage associations in Ras Al Khaimah. Our strategic partner also participates in hosting a number of workshops and seminars on the intangible heritage of Ras Al Khaimah, presenting some of the folklore, heritage, handicrafts, and traditional knowledge of the professions that our forefathers held in the pre-oil era.

How have you leveraged virtual tools to make the experience more interactive?

During the pandemic, the public came to accept and indeed prefer a virtual experience to a physical visit. This has also been our experience in terms of a tour of the Ras Al Khaimah National Museum. Visitors in the virtual environment come from both the Arab world and also a number of European countries, and tours are available both in Arabic and English. Our content is highly diverse, including videos and other material clips on indigenous people and traditional living. We have many traditional sites in Ras Al Khaimah and are the richest Emirate in terms of historic areas, monuments, and archeological sites.

What are some of the components of your cultural wealth on show to an international audience?

Jazirah Al Hamra is an important site that we are actively working on in collaboration with our partner, the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Department, and other entities. Over the past two years, we have held the Ras Al Khaimah Fine Arts Festival in Jazirah Al Hamra. We also stage the Turath District festival and a handicrafts festival that will be extended to incorporate a greater number of museums and tourist attractions.

What are your goals and expectations for the remainder of this year?

Vaccination drives are ongoing all around the world to achieve a return to normalcy; in fact, the UAE was among the first countries to vaccinate its people. In recent months, we have held holding numerous physical events. The Arabian Travel Market was staged in Dubai in May with the participation of over 60 countries, and planning is now underway for EXPO 2020 next October. All this indicates a bright future, and we expect the UAE to experience one of the fastest recoveries from the pandemic. We are positive that we will return to normal in 2021 and certainly in 2022.

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