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By Sekka Editorial
In the midst of a trying year, happiness literally popped up, specifically in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. On August 22, 2020, the Museum of Happiness, the Kingdom’s first pop-up experience of its kind opened to the masses. The interactive and colorful museum, located in the Riyadh Front, a new leisure destination in Saudi Arabia’s capital, spans over 1200 square meters, and offers interactive experiences that stimulate the senses of its adult and child visitors. It also is Instagram worthy.
The pop-up nuseum is founded by The Gathering, an experience driven event and entertainment company in Saudi Arabia, led by three female entrepreneurs— Haifa Al Sherif, Sadeem Al Hosainy and Saja Al Hosainy— that aims to inspire and spread happiness in the community through the events they organize.
We speak with Aljawhara Abanumy, the Museum of Happiness’s project manager, to find out more about the inspiration behind the Museum, and how they are ensuring public’s safety amid the COVID-19 crisis.
Tell us about the inspiration behind the museum. Why a museum dedicated to happiness in particular?
Aljawhara Abanumy: The project took two years of hard work, from initiating the ideas to design to delivering the project. We chose happiness because people are always busy with their lives, with work stress or studying pressure. In addition, the COVID-19 situation has left us in hard and depressing times. So, we created and opened this place to be a happy getaway. Spreading happiness will always be the answer to why the Museum of Happiness was created.
The pop-up museum features multisensory rooms. Tell us more about the rooms of the museum, and the kind of experiences they offer.
Aljawhara Abanumy: There are 10 multisensory rooms that you can experience happiness through. The rooms feature imaginative, multisensory art installations that are designed to stimulate your dopamine and serotonin levels. Some of the rooms are the Confetti Room, the Cactus Room and the Marshmallow Room. There’s also a coffee shop and a Museum of Happiness gift shop as well.
Did you work with specialists in happiness or well-being to build the space?
Aljawhara Abanumy: The Gathering’s founders and creative directors built the entire experience from design to execution.
How many people does the space accommodate?
Aljawhara Abanumy: On weekdays it accommodates 360 visitors and on weekends it can take up to 460 people.
How are you maintaining safety regulations amid Covid-19?
Aljawhara Abanumy: We placed a limit on the number of people on each tour in order to maintain social distancing. All of the facilities and staff follow the safety guidelines provided by the Ministry of Health. Full sterilization of the museum is done twice a day, and regular sterilization is conducted within tours. Common areas in the Museum of Happiness are also equipped with hand sanitizer stations. In addition, all visitors are required to wear face masks and shoes covers.
How do you support the local community?
Aljawhara Abanumy: Most of our employees at the Museum of Happiness are Saudis. We also support charities through our sales and offer private tours to charitable organizations. Currently, we are collaborating with Zahra to support their Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign for the month of October.
Do you have plans to open in other locations across the country or the region?
Aljawhara Abanumy: Yes, as the Museum of Happiness is a pop-up museum, we are planning to have it installed in other cities in Saudi Arabia.
We have heard that people can book the place for celebrations. How does it work exactly ?
Aljawhara Abanumy: Yes. We offer private tours and bookings, from corporate events to birthday celebrations. You can contact us directly to book the Museum of Happiness for a private tour or photoshoot sessions, at special rates.
For more information about the Museum of Happiness, please visit www.museumofhappiness.sa .
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