Construction work on the three-storey, 10,000-square- metre museum, located in the heart of Amman in Ras El Ain, began earlier this year, with plans to open its doors to the public by mid-2007.
Exhibits within the main exhibition halls will span the country’s history from the Great Arab Revolt to modern day Jordan and will take visitors on an exciting journey through the many historical civilisations that inhabited this land.
Only 5 weeks ago I was having a discussion with some friends about the lack of a national museum in Jordan. One of them suggested that it can aggregate all the relics around the country into one location. My arguement (simply because I felt like arguing at the time) was that unlike other countries Jordan was inhabited by many civilizations and therefore we have hundreds of sites scattered all over the country that represent a diverse nature. Everytime they decide to build a mall they discover a castle from a certain time and a certain people. So in all the major locations such as kerak, petra, jerash, um qais and amman, they have localized museums that hold the relics for that particular region. I thought it was a cheaper and more effecient idea to implement this because for one you can have a museuem with all the nabatean relics at petra and a museum with all the roman relics at jerash, and so forth. When tourists travel to a certain site they expect to see a place that holds the relative and respective history of that site.
However a National Museum (as I failed to see at the time) serves a higher purpose in creating a national cultural landmark which embodies the spirit of the modern Jordanian society along with it’s ancient civilizations and history. It’s also nice to have a place where school children can actually be put on a bus and taken to on a school trip for once. When it comes to anything cultural sometimes I can’t help but think of the tourists first and I end up forgetting about the citizens who need a place like this to preserve their culture and to pass it on to the next generation of Jordanians whose sense of history is begining to vanish with the bombardment of western culture.