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The Saudi Museum Commissions Plans Expansions & Additions

The blueprint will see Saudi Arabia’s museums focus on its cultural identity and translate it into a series of tangible assets across the country.

Get ready to re-visit Saudi’s cultural flagship locations like the National Museum and the Masmak Fort Museum, which are set to be remodelled and reshaped as part of the Museums Commission’s strategy to transform the sector. Culture vultures will also get to discover some new enriching hotspots, including a smaller version of the Saudi Arabian Museum of Contemporary Art (SAMoCA), the Black Gold Museum and teamLab Borderless Jeddah thanks to the commission’s ambitious plans to increase the number and typologies of museums and visitors across the Kingdom. The strategy also includes a vision to create, expand, curate and preserve collections and to build educational programmes across the museum ecosystem.

Commenting on the proposal that sees the Kingdom’s museums embody Saudi cultural identity, Dr Stefano Carboni, CEO of the Museums Commission, said: “The strategy will bring about best-practice international-standard advancement in this vital cultural sector. Our strategy will enrich the lives of all who reside in and visit the Kingdom. We will develop the sector through inspiring displays and programmes, training the first true generation of museum sector experts, and building diverse cultural platforms that attract local and international culture seekers.”

The CEO of the commission, one of 11 under the Ministry of Culture, added there is much to be told about Saudi Arabia, whether it’s the country’s past or aspiring future. And that the team at the commission, which was established in February 2020 to support the growth and development of the country’s museums sector and to become a driver for economic growth, is excited for people to visit and unearth things for themselves.

Top existing museums in Riyadh, including the National Museum in the historical centre, and the Masmak Fort Museum that witnessed the birth of the Kingdom in the Ad Dirah district, will have a makeover by 2024. Smaller venues will also be revamped in the lead up to 2030, when the sector aims to be contributing over $23 billion to the economy and hiring over 100,000 jobs.

The first new museum to open its doors is a smaller edition of the SAMoCA in the new JAX development in Ad Diriyah. The Saudi capital’s Black Gold Museum, a permanent museum dedicated to artists' interpretation of the history of oil,, in partnership with the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center, will be on the cultural map soon after that. In addition, teamLab Borderless Jeddah, an immersive digital art space, is scheduled to open in 2022 in partnership with the Japanese teamLab artists team. Medium-term plans will see the opening of significant institutions such as the Royal Art Complex Museum, the Digital Art Museum and the Museum of Prince Mohammad bin Salman International Center for Arabic Calligraphy.

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