KUWAIT: Panoramic evening view of the Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salem Cultural Center. - Amiri Diwan photos

KUWAIT: Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salem Cultural Center (ASCC) has been attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors since its establishment two years ago, solidifying the cultural movement in Kuwait and becoming one of the country's scientific and cultural monuments.

ASCC, which opened in February 2018 in a ceremony attended and patronized by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, has so far attracted over 580,000 visitors generating around KD 1.750 million income, promoted the civilized development to be a cultural, intellectual and educational beacon.

A statement by head of the Amiri Diwan's Financial and Administrative Affairs Abdulaziz Ishaq said that the Center has organized 88 activities, which ranged from exhibitions, lectures and workshops to festivals, camps and plays, touching on interests of different segments of the society. Ishaq -- also chairman of the executive committee for the Establishment and Management of Cultural Centers -- added that around 500 international organizations visited ASCC, which was also keen on establishing partnerships with embassies and similar international agencies.

ASCC held cultural and scientific workshops about rocks, recycling, plants and energy sources among others, a camp for children during Ramadan, summer camps, space academy, Eid festivals and events in the Planetarium. ASCC participated in two events abroad, the first was in Venice, Italy, in 2019 and the second was last October in Berlin, Germany. The center won the prestigious ABB LEAF award as the Public Building of the year 2018, as well as four international awards.

ASCC, named after late Amir Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salem Al-Sabah, overlooks at the Arabian Gulf and was built in the same place of Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salem High School, one of Kuwait first government schools. Minister of Amiri Diwan Affairs Sheikh Ali Jarrah Al-Sabah, addressing the inauguration of ASCC that was attended by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah, said the Kuwaiti leadership has always been supportive of the cultural and intellectual movements.

Eight buildings
ASCC, occupying 127,000 square meters with a parking lot for 1,231 cars, consists of eight buildings, six museums and one conference hall and documents' facility. The Center, which has 25 water fountains scattered in the vicinity, comprises 22 display halls with over 1,100 pieces. ASCC, built in 20 months, consists many facilities like theaters, green areas, gift shops, restaurants, coffee shops and outdoor sitting areas.

Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salem Theater houses local and international events, in addition to specialized conferences and exhibitions. The Theater is designed to trigger inspiration for exhibitors, artists and students. Visitors will roam through the six family-friendly exhibitions, exploring historic, cultural, intellectual, scientific and technological worlds.

The Ecosystems exhibition takes visitors back in time to gain a unique insight into the natural world -- both past and present -- understand the importance of ecosystems and how they influenced the development of biodiversity of in the planet over millions of years. The exhibition enables visitors to explore Southeast Asia's rainforests and see how mangroves help the ecology.

Visitors will be able to dive into an underwater wonderland and witness the wildlife. They will get to know more about Kuwait's extraordinary wildlife; how do creatures live in extreme environments? What is the link between trade and our natural habitat? The visitors can also test their skills in the exhibition's interactive displays and learn about how humans can keep the coastal community alive and help sustain the planet.

In the "Our Earth" museum, the visitors are welcomed into the world of the dinosaurs. They see the amazing reptiles and mammals that lived on earth up to 65 million years ago and also be bedazzled at the size of the huge creatures that inhabited Kuwait's prehistoric seas, how did they sound? What did they eat? The exhibition allows visitors to become paleontologists for the day in the Dino Lab and try to unearth their own dinosaur. Visitors will see the world of geology and geography come alive as they delve below the earth's crust to its fiery core.

How does Kuwait's industry and climate affect the world and how can we affect changes in the environment, at home and in the community to ensure a cleaner, greener planet? The Transportation and Robots museum display how through centuries transportation has taken people from elementary hot air balloons to jet engines, horse-drawn carriages to cars and small boats to oil tankers. Learn about Kuwait's maritime heritage and its long history of boat building.

Also in the exhibition, visitors could meet the resident Giant Robot and discover the latest ways robotic technology is assisting humans. Visitors are welcomed to the demo' area to learn about Artificial Intelligence (AI) and interact with robots, or learn about basic scientific processes in the Experiment Gallery. Innovators will enjoy the Maker Space where creative ideas and scientific innovation is encouraged.

Visitors can get acquainted, at the Human Body and Mind museum, with how human body and mind work, their secrets and will realize how the brain act as super-computers with encapsulating exhibits explain how the brain and body work in tandem. The importance of health becomes clear when visitors learn how human bodies are tested when under attack. Through a 4D show, the interactive character Kashef enlightens audiences to the marvels of the body's indefatigable defense mechanisms.

Islam's Golden Age
On the other hand, the Arabic and Islamic Science museum focuses on the Golden Age of Islam and the innumerable scientific, cultural and artistic contributions of Muslims and Arabs to modern day science. The Arabic Islamic Science Museum highlighted the scientists' groundbreaking work and accomplishments allowing visitors to proudly reconnect with the inspirational message of Islam, which actively encouraged scientific discovery.

The museum recognizes the work of Arab and Islamic scholars in the fields of exploration, medicine, astronomy and engineering; and sees how scientific discoveries contributed to the architectural wonders of the Islamic world. Lastly, this exhibition offers the spectacular opportunity to converse with ancient polymaths Al-Khwarizmi and Al-Biruni who appear to have been brought to life in a uniquely entertaining exhibit.

Meanwhile, the study of space and the universe has always evoked mystery and inspiration. The Center's Space exhibit gives audiences an unprecedented opportunity to explore the wonders of this unknown universe. Visitors can observe the galaxies and the vast cosmos and get a glimpse of some of the most important discoveries in the history of space exploration. Some of the most important discoveries in particle physics are due to the work undertaken at the Large Hadron Collider, (LHC) -- a giant particle collider based near Geneva, which is the most complex experimental facility ever built.

Visitors have a rare chance to see for themselves why this gargantuan scientific experiment is so important. The ASCC is also promoting culture of tolerance, respecting of human rights and peace among youth. It offers scientific programs like Coded, which teach boys and girls principles of coding, as well as a Bricks for Kids program in which participants learn scientific and mathematic skills through Lego Bricks.

ASCC has six rooms for training and workshops, a Fine Arts Center comprising galleries, exhibition spaces, library, and artist studios. The Fine Arts Center offers impressive programs of high quality exhibitions, and collaborative shows for local artists, supporting them through communicating with international artists and professionals. Aimed at renovating the fine arts platform in Kuwait, it also hosts fairs, festivals, workshops, and conferences.

Artist in Residence is one of the program offered by the Fine Arts Center. This program offers professional space for artists to develop their research and creative practices, and explore new ideas. The Library connects all museums with the Fine Arts Center, aimed at educating the young generation. ASCC organizes regular gatherings between artists and the public to discuss creative ideas in a casual setting. - KUNA