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Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Jordan's 1st interactive Children’s Museum

Queen Rania chairs first board meeting of Children’s Museum Society

 

(Office of Her Majesty, Press Department - Amman) Jordan’s first interactive Children’s Museum to open next year will enable Jordan’s children to explore and learn more about the world around them.  The Children’s Museum aims to create interactive learning experiences, encouraging and nurturing lifelong learning for children and their families.
 
Speaking at the first Board of Trustees meeting of the Children’s Museum Society, Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah on Monday underlined that the museum would seek to expand its outreach to engage children from remote communities through developing various outreach programs and facilities with the aim of bridging the knowledge and exposure gap. The Museum will also work with and encourage the Ministry of Education to ensure that regular organized access to the museum is provided to all children.
 
The Children's Museum is a project initiated by Queen Rania stemming from her commitment to children’s education, well-being, and development. Complementing the national curriculum by providing a supplementary learning experience that builds on classroom learning, the museum enhances children’s appreciation of their national identity by exposing them to the diverse elements of the Jordanian environment; flora and fauna, geology, archaeology, history and culture.
 
Aiming to become a flagship children’s museum of world distinction and a regional leader among museums and cultural institutions serving children and families in the Arab world, the Children’s Museum will be the first interactive and educational institution of its kind in Jordan and will be situated prominently within Al-Hussein Park. 
 
Conceived and designed by UK and Jordanian design houses, specifically for children of fourteen years and younger, the Children’s Museum, built on 20,000 square meters of land donated by the Municipality of Greater Amman, will provide over 150 hands-on exhibits and encourage multi-sensory exploration and understanding of the arts, sciences, technology, industry, and the value of the national Jordanian identity, along with accompanying innovative and educational multi-media resources and programs. The museum also includes a number of facilities: a children’s library and IT center, a planetarium, a café, an auditorium, an activities center, an outdoor theatre, and a museum shop.
 
During the meeting chaired by Queen Rania, the board discussed the museum's mission and objectives and discussed the need for adopting and implementing innovative approaches and activities in developing children’s knowledge and encouraging their creativity and self-exploration.
 
The board also emphasized the importance of having an open but structured framework, which will complement school curricula and classroom learning, engaging children in all stages of development, including those with special needs. 
 
Operated as an independent, not-for-profit establishment, the first phase of the project was made possible through the commitment of a number of Corporate Founding Partners. 
 
Monday’s meeting elected Mayor of Amman Nidal Hadid as vice president of the Board of Trustees which also includes Dr Bassem Awadallah, Fastlink CEO Mohammad Saqer, Nestle Middle East CEO Alexandre Cantacuzene, Dubai-based Emaar Properties CEO Mohammad Abbar, Mr Hmoud Oliemat, Mr Ghassan Nuqul, Mr Akram Abu Hamdan, Mr Khaled Nahhas, Ms Samar Doudin, Ms Abla Zureikat and Mr. Saed Karajeh.
 
Following the meeting, Queen Rania accompanied members of the board on a visit to the museum’s construction site, situated adjacently to The Royal Automobile Museum, where Her Majesty laid the cornerstone of the museum, which is expected to be completed by the end of summer 2006.
 
The Children's Museum will encourage curiosity, creativity, discovery and self-expression. Its innovative, interactive exhibits will invite hands-on participation, enticing children to explore and experience their environment and the world beyond. Unlike traditional museums, where objects are viewed from behind glass cases or velvet ropes, the children's museum will be a place where learning is brought to life.
 
Children are encouraged to learn by using a multi-sensory approach which also encourages parent/child interaction. The museum aims to be accessible to the community at large and expose children from all backgrounds, and of different abilities, to a stimulating and fun educational environment.
 
Exhibits are organized in three main themes: Humankind, the Natural World, and Technology, with multiple sub-themes such as Mechanics, Robotics, Communications, Creativity, the Human Body, Animals and Plants, Astronomy, Earth and Geology. 
 
Museum exhibits fall into a broad spectrum of types: from those that require noisy full-body participation, to those that encourage reflection and contemplation. Some exhibits will require teamwork, strategy and planning. Ultimately, children will be encouraged to follow their own learning agendas and indulge their inquisitive and adventurous natures.