A number of special events and exhibitions are being held in museums across the emirate until today, to mark the annual International Museums Day. The theme this year is “Museums in a Changing World — New Challenges, New Inspirations.” Sharjah, named the capital of Arab and Islamic culture by the United Nations in 1998, is home to the largest number of museums in the region with 16 museums, in addition to others that are being renovated. Mohamed Ali Al Noman, Chairman of the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) highlighted the crucial role played by museums in preserving the civilisation and cultural heritage as well as in promoting the tourism sector in the emirate that gets more than half a million visitors every year. The Sharjah Maritime Museum, for instance, is hosting a special exhibition of ancient and modern ships, besides conducting an interview with Saif Qaizi, the architect of ship Samaa. The Calligraphy Museum has organised an exhibition on making calligraphic tools while the Museum of Islamic Civilization, the Science Museum and Discovery Centre have their own special workshops and exhibitions. Al Noman said Sharjah has a long and rich history of promoting arts, culture and heritage and its museums have played a powerful role in deepening the understanding and identity of the emirate and its history. “Sharjah’s museums help in the appreciation of our precious cultural heritage in a modern and scientific manner and environment. Each one of Sharjah’s museums is a tribute to a particular aspect of science, history, culture and entertainment and attracts visitors from different ages and nationalities.” Al Noman said that the role of museums in contributing to the tourist flow into the emirate is immense. “International visitors to these museums do not just experience the rich cultural heritage of Sharjah and the UAE, but they also discover a new world and civilisation that leaves an imprint on the world civilisation,” he added. “Sharjah’s Museum of Islamic Civilization for instance boasts the richest collection of Islamic artifacts and rare manuscripts in the region. It is gems like these that attract international visitors and have earned the emirate the title of the Capital of Arab and Islamic culture. And we are sparing no effort to preserve this invaluable shared heritage for the benefit of all humanity,” the SCTDA Chairman emphasised.