Morocco to open first major museum since 1956

The three-level museum, which cost $9 million to build, was funded by the Fonds Hassan II for Economic and Social Development

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Morocco is set to open its first landmark national museum since its independence from France in 1956, the Art Newspaper website reported.

The Mohammed VI Musée National d’Art Moderne et Contemporaine, which cost $9 million to build was funded by the Fonds Hassan II for Economic and Social Development, according to the Moroccan ministry of culture.


In the heart of the capital city of Rabat, the 22,350 square meters three-story building will dedicate 4,921 square meters for a permanent collection and 2,558 square meters for temporary exhibits.

The museum’s lack of clear concept or curating strategy gave rise to fears that it might end up being an “empty gesture to prove that Morocco is not behind the times,”Katarzyna Pieprzak, an associate professor at Williams College and an expert in Moroccan museum studies, told the Art Newspaper.

“The ministry of culture has always been very cagey about who will run the museum and how the collection will be formed,” she said.

These fears were curbed when acclaimed curator Mohamed Rachdi was chosen to develop the museum’s mission and organize its opening, which is scheduled for Sept. 25.

“My goal is to stage an exhibition that will serve as a model for the museum’s collection and function,” Rachdi said about the museum’s opening show.

The first of its kind in Morocco, the show will trace the country’s art history from the beginning of the early 1900s to present day.

The museum will also feature conservation laboratories, an auditorium, an education center, a multimedia library and a café.

While construction commenced in 2004, the idea of the museum was conceived in 1999.

Abdelazzi Idrissi, an archaeologist and conservator, has been appointed its director.

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