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