The Palestine Museum of Natural History and its botanical gardens at Bethlehem University in the southern occupied West Bank opened to the public on Saturday, official Palestinian news agency Wafa reported.
Bethlehem University professor and founder of the museum Mazin Qumsiyeh said at the opening ceremony Wednesday that work on the project began in August 2014, as part of the Palestine Institute of Biodiversity and Sustainability (PIBS) at the university.
The opening ceremony was reportedly attended by officials from the Palestinian Environmental Quality Authority, the ministries of agriculture and education, university officials, and others.
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The “national accomplishment,” Qumsiyeh said, “is a dream come true to arrive at this stage, a culmination of countless hours and countless volunteers,” Wafa quoted him as saying.
“Our plans going forward are ambitious. We plan to build our PIBS to offer degrees (diplomas and higher degrees) in areas like environmental conservation, permaculture, and museology. We plan a future green museum building of nearly 2000 square meters right here where we are. We plan a mobile museum to go to remote villages,” he said.
Qumsiyeh added that in future, “We plan to have a virtual tour of the museum so that people around the world can visit Palestine and learn about areas like its fauna, flora, ethnology, history, and the human spirit that guides us. We will develop museum exhibits that are interactive. We will develop an animal rehabilitation unit. We plan to develop our botanical garden to be a permaculture research facility and a place for ex situ conservation of wild plants and some animals threatened with extinction.”
(Maan, PC, Social Media)