The site at which the Madaba Regional Archaeological Museum will be built is a Department of Antiquities compound comprising an important array of exquisite antiquities representing the cultural heritage of Madaba. The new museum will innovatively be constructed above, and will encompass, the restored complex of buildings including the “Burnt Palace,” the early 20th century clinic, and the Ottoman-period complex. The Martyr’s Church and the Roman pavement will also be part of the Museum complex.
The architectural conception envisions an open-design museum in which visitors can walk through, discover, and experience the heritage of Madaba. As the proposed plan shows, visitors will enter off the main street into the repurposed early 20thc clinic, planned to house introductory exhibits with explanations of the history of the Park. From there, they enter the first floor of the Burnt Palace and journey through the Ottoman-period Complex, where there will be walkways and exhibits of these earlier periods. Perhaps they will stroll the Roman Pavement over to the Martyr’s Church at this point, or ascend to the second floor where, thanks to an innovative cut-away design, they will have a bird’s-eye view of the Ottoman-period Complex. The second floor will showcase exhibits from the Neolithic through Iron Ages from the regional projects. The new design includes a third floor for temporary exhibits. It goes without saying that a wide variety of innovative designs is planned, utilizing 3D, virtual reality, and interactive exhibitions, especially aimed at the school children from the town and region. The hope is that with focused educational programming and outreach, the younger generation will see the value of protecting cultural heritage, which is their heritage. The theory is that educating children from the neighborhoods of the regional archaeological projects is a positive step in long-term minimizing of destruction of ancient sites.
The project envisions this Museum Complex, comprised of the Ottoman-period Complex, the Martyr’s Church, the “Burnt Palace,” and the Roman pavement to be the centerpiece of downtown Madaba, its very social and cultural hub. The goal is to make Madaba a destination city, boosting tourism, which in turn will benefit the hotels, restaurants, shops, and shopkeepers, encouraging new businesses to arise in relation to the vast travel industry and its associated range of jobs. The team is confidant that beyond protecting precious antiquities, the Museum will serve as a very concrete symbol linking the community of Madaba to its unique cultural legacy.
Concurrent with the development of the New Museum, MRAMP is already in the process of repurposing the current Madaba Archaeological Museum into a repository and storage center for the artifact collection (some 14,000 pieces), as well as a research center where scholars will have access to the materials. In a period when cultural heritage is in danger throughout the region, this project seeks to protect, develop, and showcase thousands of years of antiquity in the irreplaceable historic, architectural, and cultural remains of Madaba and the surrounding region. The site itself and the collection as a whole constitute a vast storehouse of historical remains showcasing the area’s cultural and artistic heritage over a period of more than 10,000 years, including a wide array of museum quality sculptural and artifactual objects dating from the Neolithic Period (ca. 10,000 BC) through the end of the Ottoman Period (early 20th c). It reveals an uninterrupted historical, cultural, and residential line back to the very Ottoman-period buildings that the project is also restoring, indeed to the modern founding of Madaba.