There are a total of 304 museums and 86 public libraries in the Kingdom, according to the latest data released by the Museums Commission under the Ministry of Culture.
The Museums Commission, which preserves and celebrates local heritage and culture, seeks to activate state-of-the-art museums throughout the Kingdom, and that is in close partnership with the private sector.
The museums are diverse in their types, purposes and areas. Among the museums, there are 236 private museums that include larger ones owned by private sector institutions and smaller ones owned by individuals.
There are 51 public museums and that include those under the management and organization of the Ministry of Culture, or development authorities for cities and regions. Some Saudi universities are running museums and these included 17 university museums.
The Museums Commission aims to achieve the quality of public and private museums in the Kingdom. It noted that some museums provided virtual visits to their galleries, and the number of visits to the Saudi National Museum reached about 31,000 visits during the year 2021.
The data showed that the total public libraries under the Ministry of Culture in the Kingdom stood at 86. The most remarkable development in the library sector is the project to digitize manuscripts by making available of the digitized version of 324 original manuscripts. The King Abdulaziz Darah Public Library witnessed the digitization of 6894 original manuscripts, while the Haram libraries of Makkah and Madinah contain 8149 original manuscripts, of which 94 percent are digitized. The average visit to university libraries reached 77,000 visits to one library per year.
The role of libraries is no longer limited to providing knowledge materials and references, but rather extends beyond that, by activating community participation through holding events, literary evenings, dialogue sessions, and activating international days, in addition to organizing seminars, and forums, workshops, training courses, and competitions. It represents a social and cultural center as it targets various segments of society.
The Riyadh region tops in the number of public museums in the Kingdom. The public and private museums and public libraries in various regions of the Kingdom are the following: Public museums – Riyadh:18; Makkah: 12; Madinah: 3; Eastern Province: 4; Al-Jouf: 2; Tabuk: 3; Hail: 1; Qassim: 2; Al-Baha: 1; Asir: 2; Jazan: 2; and Najran: 1.
Private museums – Riyadh: 49; Makkah: 20; Madinah: 15; Eastern Province: 28; Al-Jouf: 10; Northern Border Region: 1; Tabuk: 8; Hail: 14; Qassim: 24; Al-Baha: 5;Aseer: 51; Jazan: 8; and Najran: 3.
The public libraries include 30 in Riyadh: Makkah: 5; Madinah: 4; Qassim: 8; Eastern Province: 9; Asir: 10; Tabuk: 4; Hail: 2; Northern Border Region: 2;Jazan: 2; Najran: 2; Al-Baha: 4; and Al-Jouf 4, the data showed.