An Omani woman from the wilayat of Rustaq in South Batinah has converted her ancestral home into a museum. Zakiya bint Nasser al Lamki-ya’s Qasra Museum won the Sultan Qaboos Award for Voluntary Work in the category of individuals in 2019.
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Speaking to Muscat Daily, Zakiya informed that she started converting her family home Al Bayt al Gharbi into a museum in 2015. Al Bayt al Gharbi, which translates to The Western House, in the village of Qasra is a 300 year old structure.
Zakiya has collected more than 5,000 pieces of artefacts, some dating back more than 200 years, for her labour of love.
“The museum aims to preserve the traditional crafts and archaeological heritage left behind by our ancestors for the future generation. It has woodwork such as doors and mandoos boxes, silverware, bracelets, copper tools and cooking utensils, rare books, coins, handicrafts, women’s cosmetic items of yore, incense burners, palm leave mattresses and pottery, besides tools traditionally used for processing dairy products. I bought some of these pieces and many friends have also donated items to the museum,” Zakiya said.
“It needs a lot of time, dedication and money. People do not like to part with their heirloom and need a lot of convincing,” she said, adding that many items in her collection have sentimental value. “But the end result is worth all the effort.”
However, sourcing the items in the collection is only part of the mammoth challenge Zakiya faces in keeping Qasra Museum’s doors open to visitors.
“The house is built of mud and wood. So rains cause a lot of damage. We have to repair the house after every rain. It’s a costly affair but it has to be done. It req-uires tremendous determination and patience to overcome the many hurdles to keep this place open,” she said. “The Ministry of Tourism also supports me in this.”
Zakiya has been honoured in Saudi Arabia for her efforts to preserve traditional crafts and archaeological heritage for posterity, besides the recent Sultan Qaboos Award for Voluntary Work.
“I hope to have the biggest possible collection of heritage pieces in order to attract a lot of tourists and support Omani tourism and in turn promote Oman,” she said of her plans for the imminent future.
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