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Museum offers glimpse into history of law enforcement in Kuwait

kuwaitThe Kuwait Police Museum is the only establishment in the country that houses the story of Kuwait’s law enforcement. Located on a small side street off the Gulf Road in Bneid Al-Gar, the museum is in a heritage building - a former police station. This small building is where visitors of all ages can explore the history of law enforcement in Kuwait either touring themselves or by watching a documentary projected on a screen inside the museum. The museum, which was inaugurated in February, has five small rooms surrounding a diwaniya-style reception area. It displays police equipment, guns, swords and uniforms. The museum, which is run by the National Council for Culture, Arts and Letters contains exhibits about the history of Kuwait’s police from its foundation in 1938 until the present day. Pictures of various ministers of interior and the evolution of the uniforms that were worn by Kuwaiti policemen in the different stages of Kuwait’s law enforcement history greet visitors to the museum. Kneelength Bermuda shorts and calves wrapped in strips was the uniform of policemen in the early days. “They used to wrap their legs with bandages as protection from the sun,” explained the museum curator. The uniforms from the 1930s also featured a red and white shmagh (a red and white chequered headdress that men use to cover their head) in combination with a beige vest and Bermuda shorts. The uniforms from Kuwait’s later periods sport the ghutra (white headdress). The headdress was later replaced by a black beret.

Crime scene paraphernalia The museum houses a mini-crime lab, various artifacts, photos, electric generators, archive documents and identification papers. One of the most interesting exhibits in the museum is the section on forensic entomology (the study of insects that is related to determining the time of death of a decomposed corpse). In this section, visitors get a glimpse of models of bugs in plastic boxes that in real life are studied by crime scene investigators that determine a body’s time of death. Another interesting part of the museum is the mobile kit for taking fingerprints. So is the DNA sample collector that resembles a pregnancy test kit and is on view in one of the four small rooms of the museum. A rainbow of passport colours that belonged to Kuwaitis from different generations is the first thing that attracts the attention of visitors to the museum. Yellowish identification cards and driving licenses with faded names and details dating back to the ‘50s and ‘70s are all at view at the museum. Car license plates in different colours demonstrate the evolution of traffic in the country. In the early stages of vehicle registration, cars in Kuwait had short three and four-digit numbers. Placed on a mat in front of the museum, a bomb disposal squad robot ready for bomb detonation is an indicator of the exhibits housed in the museum. A tall mannequin at the entrance of the museum wears a bomb disposal suit in beige that look a lot like a spacesuit. Pistols, guns, Colt revolvers and swords are arranged in the museum for everyone to see. The museum is open Sunday to Thursday from 8.30 am to 12 pm and from 4.30 pm till 8 pm.

By Velina Nacheva

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This article was published on 13/03/2014