Abu Dhabi-Najat Al-Fares:
The Louvre Museum – Abu Dhabi has launched the “Emirati Oral History” program, to involve different audiences in the museum, inviting seniors and residents aged 60 to attend and interact with students and visitors in the galleries , giving older people a voice to talk about the collections available at the museum, but from another angle, telling stories shared from one generation to the next. The program aims to preserve Emirati heritage and heritage and the continuity of dialogue between generations.
Maral Bedoyan, Director of Programs and Educational Resources at the Louvre Museum – Abu Dhabi, confirmed that the museum is currently one of the most important platforms on the cultural and artistic map of Abu Dhabi, and one of our most important goals is to strengthen community communication and empower community groups, including the elderly and residents, so the launch of The Emirati oral history program is a result of our goals of connecting history and the stories told with new generations, for the continuity of dialogue and traditions and talking about the Emirates, and we remember and talk about specific situations, stories or real stories from the past related to the work of art, and this is where our role lies how to use the work of art as a medium to enhance this experience that connects the elderly person who we welcome with the students, we do So that’s the work of art so that its role becomes the center of the conversation. We are talking about a specific work of art that is inside the Louvre Abu Dhabi museum. After that, the dialogue takes place and spreads to different places.
She added that the program is important, and we started it before the Corona pandemic, but during the pandemic, we stopped for a while, and recently we had a session with Hamad Al Shamsi from Ajman, and participation was good, both men and women, and we will continue the program, and maybe expand it for other methods, and we found a positive interaction of seniors and residents The program releases feelings and emotions with nostalgia for the past, and it is not necessary for the participant to be a historian or have experience with the work of art they are talking about, but they lived through a time in the Emirates, and it is important for us to preserve the Emirati legacy and heritage and at the same time the continuity of the dialogue between the generations, and we are proud to have been the first to launch this program, and we have seen a very positive reaction both from the speakers only listeners, because recalling the memory is very beautiful, even if it is painful.
And she continued: “Our role is to serve the community and empower certain groups in society. The role of education in the museum is not limited to the category of students of schools and universities, but the role of education in the museum is very important, because we focus on the person themselves, whether it is a teacher, a professor or an artist. We focus on all groups, education has no limits. On the contrary, it continues with people throughout their lives, and we rely on the museum’s art collection, and we hear the voices, stories and opinions of visitors, our work is therefore a link between works of art and Emirati society in its entire spectrum.
Amna Hassan Al Hammadi, Head of the Community and Academic Communication Unit at the Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum, said: “The main idea of the Emirati Oral History program is to create a cultural dialogue between two different generations, the old and new generation, building bridges of communication between each other, using the art collection of the museum, usually museum visitors take information from the museum guide, and we are used in our society that the elderly person is the person who holds the information, and we used to sit around that person every day, whether it was lunch or dinner, whether he was father, mother, grandfather or grandfather -mother, and they would give information to their children or grandchildren. We tried to transfer this authentic custom in the Emirati society to the museum, for example, we had an exhibition, which included the oldest pearl of the Emirates. We were greeted by Nasser Al Kass, one of Ras Al Khaimah’s seniors, and he talked about the history of the sea and pearl diving in the Emirates, so he used the artwork as a tool, through which he recounted what life was like in the Emirates in the past.
Amna Al Hammadi added: “In another session, we welcomed Fatima Al-Mughni, one of the elderly people of Khorfakkan, and we had a piece of jewelery loaned from the National Museum of Ras Al Khaimah. She talked about the history of jewelry in the Emirates and the customs of weddings, how they were before and how they are now.”
And she continued, “We welcome seniors and residents through cooperation with relevant authorities such as the Ministry of Community Development. The main idea of the program is to give strength and voice to seniors to talk about ‘a work of art, but from his own perspective, he can tell stories about his life or his childhood, so we try to We strengthen the memory of the elderly through this program so that we can tell them that your role still exists in creating this cultural and civilized dialogue between generations and benefiting from their experience and oral history.