Kuwait’s museums: For locals only?
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Kuwait’s museums: For locals only? book
Introduction Decades prior to the current ambitions of countries across the Arabian Peninsula to achieve global status for their national museums (Ouroussoff, 2010), planning for the Kuwait National Museum was underway even before the country achieved independence in 1961. However, construction did not begin until 1981 and only a portion of the museum (two of four buildings) opened in 1983. The museum housed fi ndings from the archaeological excavations on Failaka Island as well as the magnifi cent collection of Islamic art owned and loaned to the National Museum by members of Kuwait’s ruling family, Sheikh Nasser Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah and his wife, Sheikha Hussah Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah. Within a decade of the museum’s opening, Kuwait was invaded and occupied by Iraq (2 August 1990 to 25 February 1991). The Al-Sabah collection was removed and taken to Iraq and the museum itself was severely damaged. While most of the collection was returned after liberation (Al-Awar, 2006, p. 71), only a fraction of it has been displayed in Kuwait (at the Amricani Cultural Center) because the National Museum building that housed the collection has yet to be fully restored (Fabbri, 2013; see also Bloom and Gould, 2000).