The Funniest Museum in Jordan

La Storia Museum in Madaba – We’ve visited this museum a couple of times now because it’s the funniest and at the same time the most terrible museum in the country. So keep in mind that this is not a promotion of the museum – at some points it’s even wrong to call it a museum at all – but it’s good for a laugh, and so worth a visit.

The museum is divided into sections that are weirdly patched together with no logic or thought whatsoever. There is the Biblical section (rudely presented as depictions of factual events), the Jordanian Military section, then suddenly you’re in the Bedouin Life section (happy smiling Bedouins, doing happy smiling Bedouin activities), and finally you end up in a street scene from Bab al Hara (the hammy Syrian soap opera set in the good old days).

Biblical Section

By far the funniest display, and the first thing to greet you as you enter the museum, is  NOAH’S ARK.

Here’s Noah, carefully holding a stuffed chicken nailed to a log.
DSCF2155
And here are some animals walking into the ark, two-by-two or one-by-one if you can’t find an extra hyena to stuff (they obviously had no trouble getting hold of chickens and ducks). Please take note of the plastic spiders (bottom left and top right) as well as the plastic snake (top left).
DSCF2149
There are actually two of these
IMG_3960
And here are the animals entering the ark. The contrast between the Toys R Us giraffes and the two stuffed street cats which they found outside in the rubbish bin is stunning. We could only spot one armadillo though.
DSCF2151
Not convinced these cats are the stray mangy street cats that you find in every rubbish bin in Jordan? Well, here’s a close up.
Oh and whatever you do, dont forget the gorillas.
Oh and whatever you do, don’t forget the gorillas.

Jordanian Military section 

The rising sun over this little tableau gives a remarkably communist-style twist to this propaganda, and its particularly uncomfortable as you will have just come out of the Biblical section, so its very jarring to see guns and tanks and soldiers in fox-holes.

IMG_4097

DSCF2164

Bedouin Life section  

Romanticizing Bedouin life is very popular in Jordan (as we said before – happy smiling Bedouins, doing happy smiling Bedouin activities), so this part shouldn’t come as too much of a shock. Perhaps because this is the first time that the figures in the museum are mechanized (ie parts of them move mechanically), it makes the wild-eyed rababa player seem even more crazed and in the scene below of the women at work, the arms of the woman shaking the goat skin nearly pop out of their sockets.

DSCF2166

DSCF2162

Bab al Hara Section

This section is really hard to explain (and stomach, frankly). The museum has built a sort of village street scene which features different shops and scenes that you can walk through.

This is where the museum stops becoming funny and starts becoming insulting.

DSCF2168
The shop scene, where they have pulled together whatever they can find that looks old-ish.
DSCF2173
The spooky one-eyed blanket maker. Also a mechanized figure. Also a worry that the arm might pop out of the socket.
DSCF2169
Creepy looking school children (who all actually look like they are over 60)

DSCF2174

DSCF2170
This is presented as a factual scene from the past. Honestly. The museum sees nothing wrong in presenting a black man peeking out of a sewer.
DSCF2177
The arm of the man doing the scrubbing is mechanized. That, coupled with the scary grin of the man in the background, makes this the most perverse of all the scenes.
DSCF2176
Here he is in close up. Magnificent eyebrows.

The museum in on the road between Madaba and Mount Nebo and will be on your right as you head towards Mount Nebo.  It’s a big red building that you can’t miss. The entrance fee is 2 JD per person.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s