The Successful Inauguration of two Special Exhibitions Promoting the Dialogue of Cultures and Civilizations in Egypt and Syria
UNESCO in collaboration with the respective partners, the National Museum of Damascus under the authority of the Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums of Syria and the Nubian Museum in Aswan, Egypt has launched two special exhibitions under the Spanish funding project, “Illuminating Interrelations and Engaging Dialogues: Museums as a Civic Space for Developing Intercultural Skills”.
The high-level inauguration of the exhibitions were held at the National Museum of Damascus in Syria (18 Jan 2011) and at the Nubian Museum in Aswan, Egypt (27 Jan 2011) both under the title, “Common Heritage: Museographical and Pedagogical Approach to Intercultural Dialogue”, which attracted great interest and applause from both the local and international communities.
The two museums highlighted ‘icons’ from their collections, which individually and collectively portray the intercultural exchange in scientific, religious and artistic forms from the Mediterranean to Mesopotamia through the Nile basins. The historical importance of these objects is immense as they show the vibrant cultural interconnectivity that has existed since Prehistory and still actively represents the roots of cultural identities of the regions.
These exhibitions have developed new multidisciplinary readings of museum collections in light of intercultural exchanges; which have brought new forms of expressions and knowledge, recognizing the contribution of different cultures and civilizations to the course of world history and its development. The professionals of the museums together with UNESCO selected the objects deemed most appropriate to illustrate the great diversity of cultures and civilizations. Extensive research was conducted to write new narratives on each of the objects, and exhibit panels and catalogues were produced. This new data has also adapted to be used for pedagogical activities of the museums, so that children could become more familiar with the cultural history of the region and the importance of intercultural exchange, from Prehistory to our times. UNESCO is currently constructing a virtual museum to host the digital data on the two exhibits.