Don’t Bother with the Sayyid Faisal Bin Ali Museum!!!

Museum lovers living in Muscat might recognize this “museum complex” in Al Khuwair which houses both the Natural Museum (which I’ve posted on here, here and here) and the Sayyid Faisal Bin Ali Museum.

I’m sure I’m not the only person visiting the site who got confused and thought that this building was the Sayyid Faisal Bin Ali Museum (what a mouthful! Let’s just call it SFBAM, shall we?)

This building is actually some kind of administration building with offices. Always locked when I’ve tried entering.

The impressive cannons are sure to throw most tourists off, making it seem like this is the SFBAM.  A museum of “traditional Omani weapons”..makes sense that it would have cannons in front, no?!  😉

Just look at the detail on those old cannons!  Here’s a photo of the neighboring cannon that I posted earlier.

Aha!  SFBAM is actually to the right of the “cannon building”.  The sign below makes you think you’ve arrived at the right spot…but every time I’ve popped in for a visit, it has been locked up!

This has been posted in every daily edition of the Oman Tribune for at least the past year and SFBAM is not even open!

This time I was determined to get in, so I went around the building and entered in what looked like its office glass door.  There was an Indian guard sleeping on a mat near the backdoor who was so out of it that he didn’t hear me coming or going.  I walked through one door where an Omani lady was standing behind a desk as if she were waiting for people to buy tickets or something.  I asked “Is this museum open?” and she answered, “NO! Never!”  I was somewhat surprised by this unexpected response and thought maybe she didn’t catch what I had asked.  I asked (in a deliberately slower, clear voice), “When will this museum open?”  If I thought her last reply was strange, that would seem like nothing compared to her next response…She looked me in the eye and said in what seemed to be an agitated voice, “Not for 10 years!” (Exsqueeze me? Baking powder?!)  Talk about bizarre!  Imagine some tourist coming all the way across the world, scanning the paper, finding info on this museum, paying a taxi to come over in the heat of the day only to find the place closed and a woman in bad English saying “Come on back in 10 years”, ha!ha! Seriously though, if Oman wants to take itself seriously about tourism (as I’m constantly hearing), things like this really have to get sorted out!  (My rant is now officially over and you may venture back to “the land of Just Chill“)

I figure that if even one person is thinking of visiting the Sayyid Faisal Bin Ali Museum and decides to do a quick google search before leaving and finds this post and as a result saves themselves a wild goose chase, then my mission is accomplished!  🙂


6 responses to “Don’t Bother with the Sayyid Faisal Bin Ali Museum!!!

  1. Although I have nothing to do with the museum personally,,,I just feel sorry toward what happened there and what you experienced then..
    I’ll forward the link of this page to the manager…or in charge of the museum.
    Unbelievable … how come since he’s there, or maybe he quitted suddenly and no one can take care of the museum…!???

  2. Mas,
    Thanks for the “sympathy” but I apprecreciate more the suggestion of forwarding the link to the manager. 🙂 I try not to rant for the sake of ranting but more in the hope that some kind soul such as yourself will take action to improve things. So thanks! In the immortal words of George Bush, “MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!” haha I also wish they would remove this museum from Museum Lists (such as found in Oman Tribune). Otherwise, they will be sending tourists on wild goose chases! Thanks again! 🙂

  3. Hello, Andy,
    Thank you very much for your comment.
    You believe or not, when I visited there in End.March or Early April this year (2011), it was good. Especially there’s manager or person in charge taking care of the visitors then. When I entered there, he explained all displays there, with fine explanation, which I couldn’t memorize due to my poor brain-capacity. So I was thinking to re-visit there to write all his explanation down to memo, or something..
    Therefore when I saw this page, I really got surprise and shocked.
    So far no reply from the person…maybe he is on leave or as I sent him email on weekend (Wednesday)…..
    Hope there’s still hope in the museum, since I do love Oman so much and I hope everything here is fine 🙂
    Cheers 🙂

  4. Mas,
    So someone HAS been there. That’s what I was trying to find out. Let me know if you ever get a response through email about when it’ll reopen. Thanks again for the consideration and help. It’s appreciated! 🙂 I too love Oman and it is this love for Oman (and museums) that made me post this complaint in hopes of getting answers.

  5. Interesting photo of a close-up of one of the bronze cannon’s. Actually, the words “MACAO EN CAZA DA POLVRA 1649” are written in old Portuguese, meaning: “Macau at the House of Gunpowder 1649”, making it to be of portuguese origin. It seems to be a fine work! Thanks for sharing the photo.. Jose Campos, Setubal, Portugal

    • José,
      Thanks for solving a mystery. I always wondered what the words on that cannon meant! 🙂 So nice of you to pass on the translation and history lesson. OBRIGADO!

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