The Jordan Museum
Written by Sarah Crosswell - 6/23/13
The Jordan Museum boasts a wonderful energy, reflecting that of its Jordanian culture. Filled with distinctly unique and interesting cultural pieces, the Jordan Museum does not have an air of detachment which most other museums often strive to uphold, and is thus a much-desired relief for individuals who frequent exhibitions. On the contrary, it is one of the more warm and engaging spaces one can visit – within reason, of course, as it still does its job of protecting and preserving these important cultural items.
One of the key elements in this inclusive experience is the ability to not only view the rich Jordanian culture, but to also immerse yourself in it. One will first notice an atypical lack of what I like to refer to as “sneeze guards”. Removing the plate of glass that separates you from many of these old carvings allows you to really get a good look at them, leaning in as close as you dare. I must insist that you remain cautious and respectful of this space. This is not the case for all of the exhibits, especially not the more delicate pieces. Still, here you can quite literally get closer to the culture than in many other venues. In fact, I was initially shocked to spot one type of sign wholly uncommon to most museums: “Please Touch.” One benefit of having replicas is the ability to grope them at your own will! However, one will certainly not be disappointed by the vast collection of original pieces that this museum boasts. These artifacts still adhere to the standard advisory to resist the urge to touch.
The layout of the Jordan Museum proves as equally thrilling as its substance, utilizing both standard galleries and experiential scenes. These small stations give visitors the opportunity to sit in a traditional Bedouin setting where one would normally recline for coffee. Rather than just displaying a Roman column, the gallery designers chose to arrange a set reflecting a typical forum, created with both physical elements as well as vast prints on the walls. Furthermore, the use of small interactive games or demonstrations gives the visitor a more intimate and tactile experience. Small computer activities staggered throughout the museum allow you to dress an individual in traditional garb, track the location of minerals throughout the country, or translate your name into Aramaic, Nabataean, Greek, and Arabic.
The space is an interesting combination of historical cultural and archaeological finds nestled into the almost industrial interior of the complex. With lofted ceilings, don’t forget to glance upwards, or you risk missing the signs that indicate important sequential transitions – i.e. from the Bronze to the Iron Age.
All in all, the Jordan Museum provides an experience that is equally as fun and interesting as it is manageable. One can get a fairly fulfilling experience after a mere hour, but will likely not be disappointed by perusing for longer.
Opening times: 10am-2pm
Open Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays