Harvinder Bahra, Community Programmes Coordinator, British Museum
The Museum recently held a private viewing of the exhibition Hajj: journey to the heart of Islam specifically for members of the local community. It was a very special opportunity for all of the community groups, neighbourhood centres and local charities we work with in London to see the exhibition. And despite the wintery weather, our community partners arrived early and in droves, eager to be the first ones to see this exhibition and gain a glimpse into this hidden world!
The event turned out to be the community team’s most popular exhibition private view to date. With over 800 members of the local community coming to the Museum to explore, discover and learn about this yearly phenomenon. Neighbourhood centres invited their local Muslim friends and colleagues to visit the exhibition together, using it as an opportunity to share experiences and get to know one another more closely. As one of our community contact explained:
‘When we’re volunteering we tend to focus on the work at hand, so these moments of being together without over-riding purposeful activity are a great pleasure and wonderful way for us to all learn more about one another and hence strengthen overall ties and relationships.’
The exhibition was extremely well received and seemed to provoke a mixture of personal reflection and contemplation among our guests – a sharing of personal experiences and new insights as well as discussions into the history of the pilgrimage for all faiths.
A curatorial introduction given by Project Curator Qaisra Khan for our community guests finished of the day that highlighted some of the key objects and themes of the exhibition, and gave invited guests the opportunity to delve even deeper into the exhibition and this incredible journey.
Have you seen the exhibition yet? What did you think?
Leave a comment or tweet using #hajjexhibition to let us know what you think about the exhibition
In partnership with King Abdulaziz Public Library, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
HSBC Amanah has supported the exhibition’s international reach outside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.