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A History of the World in the 100 Objects Exhibition Report

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Updated: May 21st, 2020

What is the exhibition about?

A History of the World in the 100 Objects exhibition was about “encapsulating the history of human relationships through one hundred various items sourced from the British Museum’s collection” (ADIB, 2014). The exhibition is the third in preparation for “the opening of the Zayed National Museum in 2016 running from April 23 to August 1 at Manarat Al Saadiyat” (ADIB, 2014).

In the exhibition, the British Museum worked in collaboration with Abu Dhabi to show people the world’s history using the 100 most compelling objects. For 100 days of the exhibition, the exhibition enables the people visiting to have first hand experience of how human beings and the world evolved and shaped each other over the years. Through the 100 compelling objects, the organisers arranged them in a narrative form to make people in the contemporary society have a feel of the culture in the world over time. The event creates a vivid picture of past cultures through the objects featured such as Yemen’s bronze cast arm, a statue of the Egyptian Pharaoh, and Ur’s Royal Game. In the exhibition, the narrative includes modern day objects, including Reem Al Marzouqi’s car. In addition to the exhibition, visitors also get to learn about interesting histories through seminars, workshops and tours (Macgregor, 2011).

Saadiyat Island – future and museums

Current development and future plans intend to place Saadiyat Island among the major cultural places not only in Abu Dhabi but also in the world. With modern connection to the mainland, the Island promises a great future mainly through major installations such as the Cultural District, Marina District, Saadiyat reserve, promenade, lagoons, beach and retreat. Museums will be a major part of the cultural district designed for global fairs and events.

Major centres include the Maritime and Sheikh Zayed museums, performing arts centre, Louvre Abu Dhabi, and Guggenheim Abu Ghabi. Marina district will be cosmopolitan in nature with a wide array of entertainment and leisure installations. The reserve enhances the natural environment through its sanctuaries, waterways, natural wetlands, homes and hotels. The Promenade offers vibrancy with its friendly hotels, shops, homes, beachfront and boardwalks. The lagoons have beautiful homes between the islets, which open to excellent waterways and the Arabian Gulf. The public and private beaches are a major part of Saadiyat Island that provides leisure facilities in a serene environment. The Saadiyat retreat offers a secluded location for various activities and developments such as hotels and luxury homes among other retreat facilities (ADIB, 2014).

Abu Dhabi – the exhibition location

Organisers of the exhibition chose Abu Dhabi for different reasons. Other than the excellent location, the exhibition promotes the Abu Dhabi’s position as the major exhibition centre and results in economic, political and social benefits. Indeed, the exhibition is an important aspect of the economy, as exhibitions bring together the demand and supply sides of the market. The exhibition offers a platform for the market participants to interact, which contributes to the revival and the emergence of market segments. Furthermore, the exhibition facilitates trade functions, especially the exchange of information goods and services. Through an overview of the market, transparency and development functions grow, which benefit national, regional and city development (Macgregor, 2011).

Other than the economic benefits, hosting of the exhibition in Abu Dhabi is because of the state’s position in the rapidly growing region, which enhances accessibility from Europe, Africa, America and Asia Pacific. Abu Dhabi has an excellent road and air network in addition to being a clean and secure place. Abu Dhabi is leading in economic diversification and made significant steps toward making the place an international cultural location, which is in line with the Saadiyat Island exhibition. The Abu Dhabi National exhibition centre is one of its kind in the region with a significant number of visitors annually, which contributes to making the exhibition successful. Furthermore, the state has strong support from the government, is a major tourist location, a major global economic power, and boast of technological advancement. Overall, the dynamic nature of Abu Dhabi and its excellent facilities and infrastructural developments make the state an ideal choice for the exhibition (Art Kuwait, 2014).

Main attention catching items

Although items in the exhibition were interesting, some of them caught the eye more because of their simplicity and message communicated. In understanding the making of humans, the Swimming Reindeer obtained from France more than 13,000 years ago depicted a person in a swimming position, which is very relevant to the modern day swimmer. The Clay model of cows, originating from Egypt in approximately 300BC, caught my interest because it indicated the start of farming and understanding of sexuality with the closeness of the animals. The Standard of Ur, from Iraq belonging to 2600BC was an attention getter because of its presentation of early cities similar to modern cities, which indicate the early movement of people from rural to urban areas, just as is the case in the modern times.

The Mould gold cape was interesting because it represented the development of literature and science, which artists used monuments, math and myths to represent. The Coin of Lysimachus obtained from Turkey from 305BC represented an assertion of supremacy and the building of empires in the old times. The development of world faiths and religion is captured with the item of Seated Buddha from Gandhara in 100BC. Most of the items were interesting and they depicted historical developments made easy through objects. More interesting, the exhibition arranged items into major categories for easy narration (Macgregor, 2011).

Recommendations to improve the exhibition

Recommendations to improve the exhibition cover the operational function and the actual exhibition. First, on the promotional aspect, the organisers could make significant achievements by using the social media blog posts and email marketing to reach a majority of the people with the desire to attend such an exhibition. It could also benefit by providing prior knowledge about various objects to enhance understanding as viewers move from one section to another. The event is a labour intensive one, which requires organisers to find ways of cost minimization mainly through collaboration and cost sharing. The organisers can take advantage of price competitiveness in the region and interest of visitors to organise similar exhibitions in different places. Above all, security is fundamental, and because of the threat posed by terrorists, organisers must put more stringent measures to curb crime and terrorism than before.

Personal opinion about the exhibition

A History of the World in the 100 Objects exhibition presents an excellent and interesting view, using objects to tell the human story. The exhibition was full of important information some of which I knew or did not know, but full of intimacy and informative. The aspects of elucidation and linkage are managed effectively, as the exhibition connected between different historical precedents in the development of mankind. The exhibition tells a history of cultures from different continents, which highlights the significance of museums in understanding the world’s current position.

The exhibition is an enthralling encounter, which could attract any civilised person. The exhibition presented the human history in an original and brave way with every section of the event informs viewers of a unique stage of development. The objects in the exhibition are easy to understand for someone with previous experience, and difficult to forget. The exhibition was an informative and equally entertaining experience. The exhibition is a clear indication of how much people can learn about early societies from the works of their hands and art. The objects on display capture the significance and magic of historical developments of humans. It was a wonderful exhibition that takes the viewer on a trip across the world from early times to the modern days with clear illustrations of modes of trading, communication, and fighting among different cultures.

Tourists attracted to the exhibition

Coming from different continents of the world, the exhibition attracted professional and business visitors, holiday and leisure visitors, relatives and friends as well as the youth tourists. Business tourists attended the exhibition because of their nature of attending trade shows and promoting products. Educational tourist, especially historians came to the exhibition to study, learn new knowledge about human history and enhance their qualifications. The long duration of the exhibition implied that it attracted incentive tourists sponsored by their organisations because of hard work. Cultural tourists came to the exhibition to experience the presentation of different cultures through historical objects and experience the national and international heritage on display through objects.

The serene environment of the Arabian Gulf and other natural factors attracted eco-tourists fascinated by the ecosystem promised in the Saadiyat Island. Leisure tourists were part of the visitors as they came to enjoy the event running for 100 days with interesting workshops, seminars and objects displayed. Religious tourists came to understand the development of religion, especially through object presentations. With the growing cultural diversity in the region, people from different parts live and work in Abu Dhabi. The exhibition attracted relatives and friends who came to meet in this event and be a part of it for generations to come. Youthful visitors came to the exhibition because of the fun, learning, and experience of being in such a place (ADIB, 2014).

Media to promote the event

Different types of media can help in promoting the vent across the globe to the highest number of the target market in the most effective way. Broadcast media such television and radio are important in reaching a large number of people across nationalities. Business magazines may be helpful because of the exhibition’s duration. The social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are major media for promotion, especially in this time of advanced technology. The print media can support the reach of a bigger audience. With the internet and emailing, sending mails, especially to corporate partners, who can in turn promote the event in their business media channels (Art Kuwait, 2014).


ADIB. (2014). A History of the World in 100 Objects arrives in Abu Dhabi | The National. A History of the World in 100 Objects arrives in Abu Dhabi | The National. Web.

Art Kuwait. (2014). Abu Dhabi, Manarat Al Saadiyat: A History of the World in 100 Objects. Art Kuwait RSS. Web.

MacGregor, N. (2011). A History of the World in 100 Objects. London, United Kingdom: Penguin UK. Web.

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