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Signature event
by Muhammad Yusuf May 16, 2013
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The Sharjah Museums Department (SMD) laid the foundation for a long-term collaboration with the largest museums complex in Europe, the Berlin State Museums (BSM), Germany and the Goethe-Institut Gulf Region when it signed an agreement for a mutual exhibition project with the BSM to co-jointly celebrate the selection of Sharjah as the Capital of Islamic Culture, 2014.

BSM embraces seventeen museums in five locations in Berlin. Manal Ataya, SMD Director General, signed the agreement along with Michael Eissenhauer, BSM Director General and Johannes Ebert, Secretary General of the Goethe-Institut, in Berlin. It is a long-term cooperation contract.

The aim is an intensive academic exchange and the implementation of mutual exhibition projects. The collaboration emphasises seminars and workshops for museum, which succeeds the initiative of training museum staff that was initiated by the Goethe-Institut in collaboration with the Robert-Bosch-Foundation in Sharjah in 2009.

Ataya said: “SMD and the Berlin State Museums are keen to build on our existing co-operation and to create a long-term partnership by working together on research, conservation, exhibitions and other key areas of museum activity for the benefit of our audiences. We are delighted with the ongoing support of the Goethe Institute, to enter into this agreement and look forward to developing further in museum best practice.”

Eissenhauer said: “Being the director general of the Berlin State Museums, it is my concern to continue the long and trustful relationship with His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi and with the Sharjah Museums Department. “Together with the Goethe-Institut as our close co-operation partner, we shall further initiate especially the methodical exchange between the scientists of the museums for Islamic Art in Sharjah and Berlin in preparation of a mutual exhibition project. Furthermore, the staff of the participating institutions will together develop concepts for advanced and vocational training of professional museum staff.”

Ebert said: “Museums play a more and more important role in the definition of national identities. The new museums founded in the Gulf region and in Asian countries not only change today’s international museums scenery, but ask new questions about the definition and function of museums as well.

“The cooperation of the two museum departments in Berlin and Sharjah are, in this background, an important culture-political bridging. The Goethe-Institut supports this cooperation and plans to fructify the experiences of this project internationally.”

The first mutual project in the framework of this new co-operation is a mutual exhibition of the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization and the Museum for Islamic Art in Berlin. It is considered a crucial part of the activities vis-à-vis the selection of Sharjah as the Capital of Islamic Culture, 2014.

The BSM or Staatliche Museen zu Berlin are a group of institutions in Berlin, Germany, comprising seventeen museums in five clusters, several research institutes, libraries and supporting facilities. They are overseen by the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation (PCHF) and funded by the German federal government in collaboration with Germany’s federal states.  The central complex on Museum Island, on which idea the Saadiyat Island museum complex in Abu Dhabi is partly based, was added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 1999. By 2007, the BSM had grown into the largest complex of museums in Europe. The PCHF is one of the world’s major cultural organisations. It forms a close network of about 30 institutions for cultural transmission.

The Goethe-Institute is the Federal Republic of Germany’s cultural arm, with world-wide operations. The institute promotes the study of German abroad and encourages international cultural exchange. It also fosters knowledge about Germany by providing information about its culture, society and politics.

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