UAE Creates "National Memory" by Involving Locals and Foreigners in Building the State Archives

UAE Creates "National Memory" by Involving Locals and Foreigners in Building the State Archives


Just a blink of an eye ago, the UAE transformed from scattered fishing villages to a futuristic metropolis fueled by oil. Now, the nation is embarking on a crucial mission: preserving its history.

The UAE National Library and Archives Center for Preservation and Conservation has launched a captivating initiative called "Memory of the Nation." This ambitious project transcends the walls of traditional archives, reaching out to both Emirati citizens and international visitors who possess pieces of the UAE's past.

Unearthing Lost Gems: Old newspapers, travel journals, films, maps, photographs - anything that sheds light on the UAE's journey is welcomed. These precious relics are meticulously restored, digitized, and meticulously archived for future generations.

"These records are the building blocks of our national memory," emphasizes Hamad al-Mutairi, director of the library's archival department. "Through 'Memory of the Nation,' we are weaving a rich tapestry of the UAE's story."

From Humble Beginnings to a Tech Titan: Established even before the UAE's unification, the archive center boasts a vast collection of over 6.7 million documents and photographs. But the curators are eager for more. They actively encourage businesses, organizations, and even private individuals to contribute their historical treasures.

The Power of a Single Image: The rapid modernization of the UAE has inevitably led to the demolition of older structures. This modernization boom presented a challenge - capturing the nation's evolving character for posterity. "Memory of the Nation" steps in, recognizing the immense value held within personal archives.

A single photograph, as al-Mutairi recounts, proved invaluable for economic research. The image of a vintage car offered a glimpse into the UAE's bygone trade landscape.

Leave Your Mark on History: "Memory of the Nation" isn't just about collecting artifacts; it's about fostering a sense of collective identity. Anyone can contribute and become part of the UAE's historical narrative.

The story of Alan Hoaran, who once worked in the UAE's oil industry, exemplifies this spirit. His donation of 200 photographs enriched the archive, particularly those depicting lesser-known geographical regions. One such image provided valuable insight into the Maktoum Bridge, a pioneering project symbolizing the UAE's unification.

The "Memory of the Nation" project is a remarkable initiative that transcends the boundaries of traditional archiving. By harnessing the collective power of memories, the UAE is safeguarding its heritage for generations to come.

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