BEIRUT/SIDON: Museums and historical sites across Lebanon opened their doors free of charge to visitors Saturday for the sixth edition of Lebanon’s “La Nuit des Musees,” organized by the Culture Ministry.
Fourteen museums and historical sites participated, including the National Museum and the Mim mineral museum in Beirut, the Modern and Contemporary Art Museum in Alita and the Ethnographic Museum at the University of Balamand. Most of the participating museums opened their doors from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.
“We want people to see museums as an activity that could be part of their daily life and not just students’ ... and to show people that museums are very important for the culture and the country,” said Lynn Tehini, an adviser to Lebanon’s culture minister. “It is part of the ministry’s mission, and we want people to care for their culture and heritage.”
Free shuttles were organized among participating museums in Beirut, and also to locations in the north and the south.
Culture Minister Mohammad Daoud, who attended the event at the National Museum, told the state-run National News Agency he was satisfied with “the establishment of this night in various Lebanese museums” and noted an increase in the number of visitors from previous years.
Tehini told The Daily Star approximately 16,000 people visited the National Museum while 7,503 visited the Sursock Museum and 2,700 the Villa Audi Mosaic Museum.
In Sidon, 9,000 people turned out to six historical sites, including the Soap Museum, the Debbane Palace, Khan Sacy and Khan al-Franj. Participants enjoyed handicraft exhibitions, traditional cuisine, music and singing.
“This is the role we want for Sidon, and we hope that Sidon will continue to welcome all the people of Lebanon,” said Sidon MP Bahia Hariri, the leader of the Future Movement’s parliamentary bloc, who participated in Sidon’s event.