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The National Museum of Ras Al Khaimah’s Second Annual Fine Arts Festival brought artists and patrons together to support creativity and create opportunities for cultural exchange. Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, the three-day festival held a Grand Opening and Reception on February 21, 2014. Organized by the Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi Foundation for Policy Research, the festival featured 50 local, international and regional artists. The festival ran from February 21 through the 23rd.
The Grand Opening and Reception of the Fine Arts Exhibition brought artists and art lovers together to discuss new trends in artistic designs and techniques, as well as the individual work on display. The Ras Al Khaimah Military Band played as guests walked on the red carpet and entered the Museum. Sheikh Saud was on hand to greet guests and discuss various artistic pieces. The Film Festival featured films from local and international filmmakers. An award ceremony honored those who achieved outstanding artistic excellence.
The National Museum, located in Ras Al Khaimah’s Old Town, was once the palace of the ruling Al Qasimi family. Historical, ethnographical and archaeological objects are exhibited. Collections and cultural artifacts include those donated by the Al Qasimi family and Ras Al Khaimah residents. Archaeological survey and excavation objects are on display to showcase the region’s ancient and not-so ancient past. Brian Doe and Beatrice de Cardi conducted the first Ras Al Khaimah archaeological survey in 1968. The late ruler, His Highness Sheikh Saqr bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, gave the archaeologists his full support. The surveys became the foundation of archaeological research in the region and eventually led to the creation and inauguration of the National Museum.
The National Museum houses an extensive library that documents the culture, heritage and history of Ras Al Khaimah and the Gulf region. The library contains both Arabic and English books. The highly trained museum staff collects, archives and preserves historic documents and is active in promoting historical and cultural awareness. Ras Al Khaimah and the Department of Antiquities and Museums welcome inquiries from researchers and scholars.
The building, also called “Late Castle,” which houses the National Museum, is of historical importance. Made of coral stone, a fossil material that originates in the sea, it has superb insulation abilities that keep the building cool in the summer and warm in the winter. The original building was a fort and defense tower that was destroyed at least twice before the mid-1800s. Additions over time to the original structures turned the building into a fortified defensive complex where the ruling Qasimi family lived until 1964. The building then served as police headquarters and prison until it was converted into the National Museum in 1987.
The Second Annual Fine Arts Exhibition is a testament to His Highness Sheikh Saud’s commitment to artistic creativity.