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Oman Across the Ages Museum – all you need to know

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Oman’s newest museum Oman Across the Ages is an absolute must on our list of things to do in the Sultanate. It’s been created with the same wow factor you’d expect of museums in the neighbouring UAE with excellent storytelling to appeal to visitors young and not so young.

The museum opened in March 2023 and is an excellent spring board for exploring the rest of the country. It sets the scene with hi-tech displays about the country’s history, culture, landscape and politics.

I like it so much that I have been three times since it opened taking a friend, my own family and our visiting parents. This post consolidates our experience to provide useful information for tourists and residents, particularly families, who are thinking of visiting Oman Across the Ages.

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Who designed the Oman Across the Ages Museum?

Geometric tower of Oman Across the Ages Museum rising into the sky above a reflection pool

The museum was deigned by Australian architect firm Cox Architecture. Their brief was to create a place that reflected the surrounding Hajar Mountains, hence the dramatically angular exterior.

Inside there’s 9,000sqm of exhibition space as well as conference facilities, a library and research centre, cafes and a restaurant. Outside you can walk through gardens bordered by lakes and Aflaj-like channels (Aflaj is the name for Oman’s UNESCO recognised irrigation systems).

There’s places to picnic and hold outdoor events in the winter months.

What’s there?

The museum tells the story of Oman’s past, present and its aspirations for the future in two parts, the History Gallery and the Renaissance Gallery.

The Land of Oman exhibition area in Oman Across the Ages museum. The space includes high tech screens alongside prehistoric exhibits behind glass
You enter through the Land of Oman exhibition in the History Gallery.

You begin with a walk through pre-historic times before meeting the country’s first human inhabitants, learning about the creation of irrigation systems, the nation’s rise as a maritime nation, its Islamic faith and the pre-21st Century dynasties of Oman’s leaders.

There are walk-in scenes from thousands of years ago, interactive displays, life-sized models and artefacts collected from all over the country.

Three camels made of metal
The camel was first domesticated in 3,000 BC.
Children play with an interactive display showing how Oman's Aflaj irrigation systems work
Interactive game – can you help irrigate this mountain town with Aflaj?
A recreated Megan era ship inside Oman Across the Ages Museum. It is made of wood and bales of straw
A recreated Magan ship that would have sailed the seas around Oman 2,500 BC.
A circular display screen hangs in the air above displays about Oman's maritime history
Oman’s maritime history and strategic location made it an important trading post.

The Renaissance Gallery is the one I find most fascinating as you learn about the rapid modernisation of Oman under Sultan Qaboos bin Said and his successor Sultan Haitham bin Tariq.

Five tall electronic display board show a scene of celebration
The entrance to the Renaissance Gallery is dedicated to Sultan Qaboos who began Oman’s modernisation in 1970.
Child pointing up at tall electronic display boards
Listen to and read Sultan Qaboos’ speech to the nation on succeeding his father as Oman’s leader.
A large hall with hi tech display screens on the walls and floor as well as a collection of royal cars
You absolutely must pause here to read all of the statistics here about Oman’s modernisation journey in the past 50 years. They are incredible.

There are also interactive exhibits about Oman’s society, culture, industry and media.

Child plays on interactive game screen to pick the traditional clothes for an Omani woman
This digital dress up game is one of my children’s favourite activities.

Oman Across the Ages also has a huge amount of indoor space for touring exhibitions and outdoor space for events.

There’s an internal courtyard with mirror pool and you can walk all the way around the outside of the building where there are examples of petroglyphs (Omani rock art), reflection pools and gardens full of plants you find growing in the mountains and wadis.

The Entrance to Oman Across the Ages Museum
The museum entrance
Bright pink flowers in the gardens outside Oman Across the Ages Museum
Beautiful gardens
Oman rock art also known at Petroglyphs - pictures that have been chipped or scratched into rock
Petroglyphs found on a stone in Wadi Lahjeej showing human hands and feet, animals and celestial bodies.
Geometric tower of Oman Across the Ages Museum rising into the sky above a reflection pool

Walking around the outside of the museum is the best way to appreciate the mountain-inspired design with its sharp angles and towering features. However there is no shade, so it is more comfortable to explore this space in the winter season.

It’s free to walk around the museum grounds.

How family friendly is Oman Across the Ages?

This is a very family-friendly museum with interactive displays and games throughout. It definitely makes our recommendations for places to visit when in Oman with kids.

Children touch an interactive game in The Land of Oman exhibition area in Oman Across the Ages museum.

Some of my girls’ favourite things to do are recreating petroglyphs, protecting an ancient fort under siege, matching people with jobs in modern day Oman and dressing people in traditional clothes. 

All of these are presented as interactive games, making the museum experience customisable.

Children aged five and up will get a lot out of visiting. 

Be aware that you can’t bring food or drink into the exhibition areas so have your snacks before you enter. There’s lots of spaces to sit and eat outside the exhibitions.

How accessible is the museum?

There are lifts between the different levels, accessible toilets, free to use wheelchairs, Arabic Braille and tactile information boards.

All information is in Arabic and English.

You can also buy an audio tour in Arabic and English.

Food at the museum 

There is a cafe inside the museum lobby where you can buy reasonably priced light meals, drinks and sweets.

We’ve used this each time we have been to the museum. There’s also a cafe towards the back and a restaurant upstairs.

When is the Oman Across the Ages Museum open?

The museum’s permanent galleries are open daily from 9am to 5pm with the exception of Fridays when it is open from 1.30pm to 5pm. The museum’s other facilities, including its restaurant, are open until 9pm Saturday to Thursday and until 7pm on Fridays.

Opening times may be slightly shorter during Ramadan and the museum is likely to close on the first day of Eid al Fitr Adha and Eid al Adha.

Keep an eye on the museum’s Instagram page for opening updates.

How much is entry to the museum?

When we visited in 2023/24, entry cost 5 OMR for tourists, 2 OMR for residents and 1 OMR for citizens of Oman and GCC countries.

There are reduced rates for children, students and senior citizens.

How do get to Oman Across the Ages

Oman Across the Ages Museum is located in Manah, which is less than a 20 minute drive from the centre of Nizwa and an hour and 40 minutes from Muscat International Airport.

It’s easiest to visit the museum by car. There is free underground parking.

Here’s where to find Oman Across the Ages Museum on Google Maps:

Alternatively, you can get a Mwasalat bus (route 54) from Muscat to Nizwa. You then need to get a taxi from Nizwa to the museum. A return bus ticket costs less than 4 OMR per person.

There are two buses a day each way on this route and the journey takes about three hours in each direction. This would be a good way to reach the museum if you intended to explore more in the Nizwa area.

You can check the cost of the taxi journey and book your ride using the Otaxi app.

More handy information 

Here’s some other helpful things to know before you visit Oman Across the Ages:

  • There’s a security scanner at the entrance to the museum.
  • You should dress modestly, covering your knees and shoulders.
  • There’s a cloakroom where you can leave bags for free.

More essential reading

If you’re looking for more ideas for places to visit in Oman I’ve got you covered!

Copy of the Lonely Planet's Oman, UAE & Arabian Peninsular travel guide held by hand in front of palm tree and blue sky background

Something really handy that I bought before we moved to Oman was the Lonely Planet Oman UAE & Arabian Peninsular* guide book. As well as information about things to do in Oman there’s loads of great tips about customs and traditions.

Read more about visiting Oman with kids in my comprehensive travel guide for families.

Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links marked with *. If you click on one of these links and make a purchase I mean earn some commission. This does not affect the price you pay.

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