Based on its commitment to enhance the importance of museums among the younger generations in the UAE as well as enrich their knowledge of the Emirati experience and strengthen their link with the Emirati cultural identity through innovative, interactive channels, Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Dubai Knowledge and Human Development Authority, launched virtual tours and workshops with a cultural guide in Etihad Museum, Dubai. These tours target school students in UAE through the Dubai 360 website, an online platform that offers panoramic video and photographic content of several sites of interest across the city.
As the Authority responsible for the museums in Dubai and concerned with the cultural, arts, heritage, and literary sectors in the Emirate, Dubai Culture aims through this initiative to provide an opportunity for community members to explore Etihad Museum virtually in light of the current situation, in line with the preventive measures taken by United Arab Emirates to ensure public safety. This decision is also consistent with the Authority’s keenness to create the best experiences by taking advantage of the latest technologies used in these tours, including interactive virtual walkthrough tours, and full-angle panoramic images.
Through the virtual tour, visitors can get acquainted with Etihad Museum, the cultural and human edifice that occupies a special place in the hearts of all Emiratis and that has a unique architectural aesthetic that distinguishes it from any other touristic or heritage landmark in the UAE. Through this initiative, the Authority seeks to inspire visitors with the story of the establishment of the United Arab Emirates as well as cherish the dedication of the Founding Fathers and their national spirit. Dubai Culture also aims to encourage successive generations to follow in the founders’ footsteps in advancing the nation and introduce them to the different stages of the Emirates’ prosperity and aspirations for the future.
Guided tour and workshop
The initiative provides school students with two services: a virtual tour accompanied by a cultural guide, and an interactive workshop. Educational entities must book the tour in advance, and at the appointed time, the cultural guide at Etihad Museum will implement a virtual tour for the teachers and their students across all sections of the museum using the Dubai 360 site and a digital meeting platform. The tour will commence through a live guided walkthrough of the museum and its section, allowing students to interact with the guide and gain insightful knowledge of the historical collections and buildings within Etihad Museum
As part of the ‘One Word, One Story’ interactive workshop, the teachers and students are taken on a virtual tour of selected sections of the museum. Each participant would be asked to choose a word that they associate with each section, and at the end of the tour, they would combine all the words into a story or short paragraph that may be shared on social media. Through this workshop, Dubai Culture aims to develop the writing skills of its participants, enhance their capabilities in creative expression, and highlight the museum’s pioneering role as a cultural and educational centre while also documenting its relationship with the emerging generation.
Muna Faisal Algurg, Director of Museums Department, noted that this initiative highlights the importance of integrating roles among different sectors in the country, pointing out that the Authority seeks, through its cooperation with various public and private entities, to achieve Dubai’s vision of strengthening the cultural sector in the city, while also stressing Dubai Culture’s keenness to accomplish its social responsibility that keeps pace with the wise leadership’s directions.
Muna Algurg added: “Etihad Museum is a legacy for the union’s founders, and it is our responsibility to maintain its stature in the minds of upcoming generations. Under the current circumstances that forced us to temporarily close the museum to preserve public health, we sought to continue spreading the museum’s message and achieving its goals, as inspired by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, saying in reference to the UAE “it is the embodiment of confronting difficulties, overcoming obstacles and conquering the impossible.”. Assessing our customers’ needs and the opportunities we have to offer in line with the needs of the current remote learning period for all student in the UAE, we were able to develop the virtual guided tours in collaboration with the Knowledge and Human Development Authority in Dubai and the Ministry of Education which helped play an active role in promoting it among schools across the UAE. We received positive interactions from many schools that expressed their desire to reserve these tours and workshops and integrate it within their current remote learning curriculum.”
Mouza Al Suwaidi, Chief of Engagement at Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) said, “We’re excited to partner with Dubai Culture and curate this unique experience for students. Students can now discover the UAE’s rich heritage and see how the UAE has developed through a series of interactive exhibits, films and photos that are available virtually. The immersive experience encourages students to explore stories from the past and learn interesting facets of our history and tradition, all from the comfort of their home. We hope these virtual tours will encourage students to connect with one another as they learn, share and explore new ideas through these experiences.”
Through this initiative, Dubai Culture seeks to provide an opportunity for emerging generations to interact with Etihad Museum through targeted exhibitions and educational programmes through which they explore the chronology of the union’s story, leading to the announcement of the establishment of the Emirates.