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October 22 2021 7:35 PM ˚

The storyteller of Jordan

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(Photo: The Jordan Museum’s Twitter account)
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AMMAN — Only a street away from major archeological sites in Amman such as the Roman Theater, the Nymphaeum, and the Hashemite Plaza, the Jordan Museum is located in the dynamic new downtown area of Ras Al Ain, adjacent to the Greater Amman Municipality (GAM) headquarters and the cultural facilities of the city.اضافة اعلان

The Jordan Archeological Museum at the Amman Citadel site was established in 1951 and hosted important archeological antiquities. However, the idea of a national museum that would present the treasures of Jordan’s archeological and cultural heritage became a necessity in the 1960s.

In 1980, HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal held the first International Conference on the History and Archaeology of Jordan at the University of Oxford, where conferees recommended the establishment of a “National Museum”. He founded and chaired the Society of Jordanian Culture in 1989, which worked on issues that developed into general concepts for the museum.

The idea was taken up earnestly in 1999 when the Japanese government signed a loan agreement for financing the Tourism Sector Development Project, providing funding for, among other projects, the national museum.

In 2002, His Majesty King Abdullah issued a Royal decree declaring the establishment of a “national museum”, and the museum became a reality in 2005, when Her Majesty Queen Rania, the chair of the board of trustees, laid the cornerstone of the museum.

HRH Princess Sumaya bint El Hassan, vice-chair of the board, said: “The Jordan Museum will be a place that embodies our belief in the importance of education, learning, personal growth, and discovery. This entity will also provide an opportunity for visitors to think about the historical and cultural aspects that make up the society that surrounds them.”

The Jordan Museum serves as a comprehensive national center for learning and knowledge that reflects Jordan’s history and culture, and presents in an engaging yet educational way the Kingdom’s historic, antique, and heritage property.

The 10,000sq.m. property cost around $25 million to build, and responsibility for the museum’s development is shared by the ministries of public works and tourism, as well as the GAM, in collaboration with the Japanese government through JICA.

The chief architect of the museum is the late Jafar Tukan, the renowned architect who pioneered Jordan’s architecture for decades. Tukan built a reputation throughout Jordan and beyond as a modernist architect who preferred to work with stone and sought to blend his buildings into their surroundings.

With the Jordan Museum, Tukan had skillfully woven the concept of the building into its fabric, expressing the past, present, and future of Jordan through his choice of materials — suggesting the past with rough stones, linking the present with smooth stones, and projecting into the future with the use of glass.

The permanent exhibition covers 1.5 million years of Jordanian history and archeology and consists of three main chronological flow galleries that narrate the “Story of Jordan”..

The archaeology gallery that starts with the Old Stone Age and ends with the Ottoman period. It hosts some notable displays such as animal bones dating back 1.5 million years, the Pella Ivory Box, Ain Ghazal lime plaster statues, the Copper Scroll from the Dead Sea Scrolls, and a copy of the Mesha Stele.

This is followed by the folklore gallery, which shows with an ethnographical approach the form of life Jordanians had at the turn of the century. Finally, the contemporary gallery covers the modern Jordanian history.

The museum’s nine major themes are the environment, food production and processing, visual art and architecture, cultural exchange and trade, politics and the military, communication and writing, industry, religion, and daily domestic life in Jordan throughout the ages.

The museum hosts an inviting hands-on area for children dedicated to teaching and learning, where they express their creativity in projects and performing arts activities inspired by their museum visit.

There is also a 500sq.m. temporary hall that hosts temporary exhibitions intended to complement the permanent displays.

Unfortunately, in light of the epidemiological situation in Amman, all museums including the Jordan Museum closed their doors on August 27, 2020 until further notice.