Most of the country’s museums are spread about the Capital Area of Muscat and are indicated by green signs. The museum landscape of Oman is in the early stages of development but is improving and increasing year by year. The didactic preparation of historical remains and Oman's own culture is slowly coming into its own.
Museums within Muscat and the Capital Area
Bayt Al Zubair, Muscat, situated outside the city wall, in front of the Bab al Kabir gate to the South.
Tel. 24736688; open from Saturday to Thursday 09:00 –13:00 and 16:00–19:00.
Easily the most professional museum in the country. This outstanding private collection of the ancient Zubair merchant family includes historical photographs, documents, jewelry, everyday objects and a valuable collection of old khanjars. Alongside this you can see traditional handicrafts and gain an insight into the earlier way of life of people in the country.
Bayt Al Baranda, Mutrah, coming from Ruwi the museum is on the right immediately before reaching the roundabout on the Corniche. Tel. 24714262; Open Saturday to Wednesday 09:00–13:00 and 16:00-18:00. Thursday only 09:00 - 13:00.
This excellent museum is in a beautifully renovated historical townhouse. Shown are the historical and geological evolution of the capital region from prehistoric times to today, plus descriptions of Muscat by travelers and cartographers over the last few centuries. Also suitable for families.
Children’s Museum (Science Museum), Al Sarooj, Tel. 24605368, located in two white low-domed buildings directly next to the Sultan Qaboos Road. Open Saturday to Thursday 09:00–13:00, October 1-March 31, also 16:00-18:00. Approaching from the direction of Ruwi or Mutrah, pass the exit for the "Muscat Intercontinental Hotel," and then right.
A modern educational museum in which children are brought closer to modern technology through experiments in a hands-on manner.
Muscat Gate Museum, Muscat, in the first floor of the new city gate over the coastal road from Mutrah to Muscat. Open Saturday to Thursday 09.30–12:30 and 16:30–19:00.
The history of the town of Muscat, as well as the geology of the region, depicted on very informative display boards and through a 20-minute film presentation.
New National Museum, recently (Sept. 2016) opened in the historical part of Muscat, shows to public all important Omani collections of Cultural Heritage, also two of the 5000 year old beehieve tombs found in Bat. Some of the exhibition departements are: Maritime History, Arms and Armour, Aflaj, Curreny, Prehistory and Ancient History, Civilisation of Magan, Iron Age, Oman in the World and also Intangible Heritage which is about music in Oman. The museum is supposed to be open from Monday till Saturday from 8am till 6 pm (restricted opening hours actually -Sept. 2016) Tel: +22081500)
Natural History Museum, al Khuwayr, in the building of the Ministry of National Heritage and Culture, Tel. 24641510; open Saturday to Wednesday 08:00–13:30, Thursday 09:00–19:00. Closed on public holidays. At the Al Khuwayr roundabout go in the direction “Shatti Al Qurm” and follow the sign “Ministries.”
Overview of the geology, animal and plant worlds as well as the landscapes of Oman; many specimens, partly in dioramas; interesting new section on whales and dolphins.
Oil and Gas Exhibition Center, to the right of the main gate of the PDO (Petroleum Development Oman Ltd.), Tel. 24677834; closed during Ramadan, otherwise open from Saturday to Wednesday from 07:00-12:00 and from 13:00-15:45. Drive in the direction of Al Qurm from the Al Qurm roundabout, under the Al Qurm Heights Road and take the first road on the right (Seih Al Maleh Street.) There are no signs! This road leads directly to the main gate of the PDO. The museum is located to the right of the gate.
The history of oil production in the Sultanate of Oman and its technical processes are explained by means of multimedia displays.
Omani-French Museum, Muscat, in Bayt Fransa, Tel. 24736613; open Saturday to Wednesday 08:00–13.30, October 1-March 31 also 16:00-18:00. Go through the large city gate (bab kabir), then on the right, in the restored former French embassy building.
A collection of historical material relating to the common Omani-French past. Especially worth seeing from an architectural point of view.
Sayyid Faisal Bin Ali Museum is located on the grounds of the Natural History Museum in a former theater building (tel. 24641650), open Saturday to Wednesday 08:00-14:00.
In this compact space the development of weapons in the country from the Stone Age to the 20th century is shown, as well as an overview of the main clay fortresses.
The Sultan’s Armed Forces Museum (Military history Museum), Ruwi, in Bayt al Falaj, former garrison and royal residence, Tel. 24312642; only open on Saturday and Wednesday from 08:30–12:30. Coming from Al Qurm it is to be reached by taking the last exit on the right from the Mutrah roundabout.
Collection of historic weapons and uniforms; documentation about the Imamate uprising and the Dhofar War. As in all military establishments it is forbidden to take photographs here.
Museums outside of Muscat and the Capital Area
The lovingly renovated and furnished Bayt Naman in Barka (tel. 24641300) is open Saturday through Wednesday 09:00-13:30.
In the restored Sohar Fort a museum dedicated to Oman’s lively maritime history has been established (tel. 26844758.) The exhibition can be visited from Saturday to Thursday from 08:00-13:30, October 1-March 31, also 16:00-18:00.
A small, very interesting, private Maritime Museum unfortunately not accessble for public in Sur. Here you can see historic photographs from the period of the East Africa trade, models of ships, household contents and woven products. The collection is housed in the club building of the local football club. Coming from Al Kamil Wa Al Wafi after passing a broadcasting tower and a small power station, you fork off to the right at the petrol station in front of a soccer pitch. Passing through the gate you come to a walled-in area with two houses. The collection is in the left hand building.
The Land of Frankincense Museum is located in the Archaeological Park of Al Baleed in Salalah (Tel. 23202566); both are open Saturday to Wednesday 8:00-14:00 and 16:00-20:00. Thursday and Friday only 16:00-20:00. In two exhibition halls, the development of Oman is documented as a seafaring nation with a summary of the development of the country from the Stone Age to the present.
The visit to the adjacent archeological park of Al Baleed (Al Baliid) is particularly pleasant in the mild evening light.
Samharamm. Also in the area of Samharamm is a small museum, worth seeing, in conjunction with a visit to the archaeological site.