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10 July 2018 04:34 pm

3 must visit museums in Qatar; 1 on the way!

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nabeela
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Within the last decade, Qatar has become an important hub of art and culture not only within the region but is also being recognized all over the world for promoting the art of Islamic civilisations through the ages and Qatari traditions, customs and its rich heritage. Its different museums that have become must-see attractions for visitors and locals alike are proof that Qatar’s vision of becoming the world’s capital for art and culture is slowly becoming a reality. 

Below are the three museums that make up part of the Qatar Museums and are visited by thousands of people every year to marvel at and be amazed by the thousands of ancient artefacts and art collections this wonderful country has on offer. Also discussed is Qatar’s upcoming museum, the National Museum of Qatar, which is bound to become another icon of Qatar’s magnificence and glory.

1. Museum of Islamic Art

Museum of Islamic Art Doha

The Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) is one of Qatar’s most iconic buildings and is world famous for its exotic collection of Islamic masterpieces from different Muslim countries spanning across centuries. Thousands and thousands of visitors pass through its doors every year to witness the marvel and splendour that make up the Islamic world through art pieces collected over the years and carefully conserved so visitors can understand the Islamic traditions, culture and heritage through the centuries.

MIA was built in the mid-2000s and was opened to the public on 1 December 2008. Under the patronage of the Chairperson of the Qatar Museums Authority’s Board of Trustees, Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, the museum has flourished and, today, it is a source of pride for Qatar.

MIA Collection Museum of Islamic Art Doha
Image Credit: Museum of Islamic Art

The MIA is a must-see attraction by visitors, adults and children alike, who visit the museum to enjoy and understand Islamic culture through its profound art exhibits. MIA is resident to a vast range of Islamic art collected from all over the Muslim world and across three continents, reaching as far as China, India and Spain. The collection is made up of precious stones, jewellery, ceramics, glass, wood, metal, textiles and manuscripts from hundreds of years ago dating from the 7th to the 20th century.

The MIA’s thousands of art pieces are from different eras and though they may be connected through Islam, a lot of them are non-religious. The pieces come from the opulent homes of influential people of their times and also from the humble homes of ordinary people. Each piece tells its own story and takes you beyond the museum walls and transports you to the world of yesterday.

The MIA also has a number of temporary exhibitions with artefacts and art pieces brought specifically to Qatar ad these change periodically. These are also very popular with visitors. MIA also loans its artefacts and collections to other museums across the globe.

MIA is one of the most visited attractions in Qatar; it’s a must-see for adults and children alike, who visit the museum to enjoy and understand Islamic culture through its profound art exhibits.

 Amenities

Museum of Islamic Art Cafe Qatar
Image Credit: Museum of Islamic Art

  • Gift shop
  • MIA Café
  • IDAM Fine Dining
  • Library
  • Workshops
  • Classrooms
  • Study spaces
  • Reading room
  • Conservation laboratory
  • Park
  • Concerts spaces
  • Free Wi-Fi

Admission

FREE

Timings

Saturday 10:30am – 5:30pm

Monday, - Thursday: 10:30am – 5:30pm

Friday: 2pm - 8pm

The museum is closed on Tuesdays, 25 December and the first day of the two Eids.

Contact Details

Address: Al Corniche Street, Opposite Al Fanar Centre, Doha - Qatar

Tel: +974 4452 5555

Website: http://www.qm.org.qa/en/project/museum-islamic-art-mia


 2. Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art

Mathaf Arab Museum of Modern Art Qatar
Image Credit: Mathaf Arab Museum of Modern Art

The Mathaf (which means ‘museum’ in the Arabic language and is pronounced as ‘mat-haf’) Arab Museum of Modern Art was established on 30 December 2010 and houses over 6,300 pieces of Arabian art that start from the 19th century up to the modern day. The museum is located within an abandoned building that used to be a school in Doha’s Education City and was completely renovated by the French architect, Jean-François Bodin who transformed it into the modern museum that it is today.

Under the patronage of His Highness H.E. Sheikh Hassan bin Mohamed bin Ali Al Thani, who is a passionate art collector and artist, the museum has flourished and turned into a huge and splendid treasure trove of modern Arab art. Most of the art work has been donated by him and he also has a vast collection of periodicals and books about Arab artists and artwork which he used to start an artist residency program at the museum.

Mathaf Arab Museum of Modern Art Doha
Image Credit: Mathaf Arab Museum of Modern Art

The museum has a simple design and is more about function than shape and form. It has two floors and 10 galleries with different themes. The ground floor galleries contain themed art work on form, individualism, nature, abstraction and Doha. The first floor galleries depict themed art work on struggle, society, family, legend, history and Horoufiyah (using Arabic letters as abstract forms). Dotted around the museum are art pieces that showcase civic struggles Arabs suffered in the 20th century along with text-based art, cityscapes and individual portraiture.

The maze-like layout of the museum adds to the splendor of its interconnected galleries that contain lively paintings in soft colour shades that contrast with the gleaming fluorescent lighting between the two floors sometimes giving the feeling of a stimulating sensory experience.

Though the museum is still in its infancy stage, it is growing in popularity and visitors from all around the world visit it to marvel at the contemporary works of art by Arab artists that include Ismail Fattah, Dia Azzawai, Ali Nouri, Sliman Mansour, Mahmoud Said and Wafaa Bilal, amongst others.

Do not miss the opportunity of visiting this one-of-a-kind Arab museum.

Mathaf Arab Museum of Modern Art Doha
Image Credit: Mathaf Arab Museum of Modern Art
Amenities
  • Gift (and book) shop
  • Coffee shop
  • Research library
  • Artist workshop
  • Education centre
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Free shuttle bus service between Mathaf and MIA Wednesdays to Thursdays.

Admission

Entry to the museum is FREE of charge for the permanent exhibitions.

QAR.25 for all temporary exhibitions.

Children under the age of 16, students, ICOM and CIMAM members can visit the permanent and temporary exhibitions for FREE.

Timings

Sunday – Sunday: 11am - 6pm  Monday: Closed Tuesday – Thursday: 11am – 6m Friday: 3pm - 9pm

Contact Details

Address: Education City, Doha – Qatar Tel: +974 4402 8855 / 8830

Website: www.mathaf.org.qa

Info: mathaf_info@qma.org.qa


3. Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum

Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum Qatar

Image Credit: Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum

The Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum (FBQ Museum) is a fascinating place with a huge collection of ancient artefacts, furniture, Islamic art, weapons, coins, carpets, vintage cars, prehistoric bones and fossils of dinosaurs and other creatures that roamed the earth at that time, and lots more. There’s even a plane in the museum!

Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum Doha
Image Credit: Nabeela Tariq

Sheikh Faisal, who is a leading businessman of the Arab region and an avid collector of artefacts and art that signify Islam along with Qatari traditions and customs, created the FBQ Museum in 1998 within the fort located at Samriya Farm just outside Doha. The museum showcases his vast collection of rare and priceless pieces so visitors can get a glimpse of the Islamic lifestyle and the Qatari way of life over the years. Pieces in the museum date back to the dinosaur era millions of years ago and move on to include the earlier Islamic era and everyday objects that were used by Qataris in their daily lives till recently.

The FBQ Museum is a must-see tourist attraction in Qatar and draws people from around the world who come to the museum and are awe-struck by the magnificent collection of over 15,000 relics and artefacts of immense historical importance. Each piece has been handpicked over the years by Sheikh Faisal himself on his travels around the world.

Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum Qatar
Image Credit: Nabeela Tariq

The FBQ Museum is the pride of Qatar and has earned Sheikh Faisal the title of ‘Heritage personality for 2012’ by the Arab Center for Tourism Media in 2012.

Though it is Sheikh Faisal’s private museum, it is open to the public. Tour guides are available to show visitors around the museum and explain the artefacts and different pieces in detail.

Amenities

Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum Doha
Image Credit: Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum
  • Gift shop
  • Guided tours

Admission

FREE

Timings

Sunday: 9am – 4pm

Monday – Thursday: 9am – 4pm

Friday: 2pm – 7pm

Saturday: 10am – 6pm Contact Details

Address: Al Samriya (22km west of Doha on the Dukhan highway; just after the Mall of Qatar) - Qatar Tel: +974 4486 1444

Fax: +974 4486 2555

Email: info@fbqmuseum.org

Website: http://fbqmuseum.org/ 

For more information and to make a booking, contact: events@fbqmuseum.org 

For membership or a research-based visit to the museum, contact: info@fbqmuseum.org 

For hosting special events at the museum, contact: events@fbqmuseum.org


 4. National Museum of Qatar (Opening in December 2018)

National Museum of Qatar
Title Image: Qatar Tribune

Designed by Pritzker prize-winning French architect Jean Nouvel, the interlinking disc design of the National Museum of Qatar represents petals that are positioned at different angles and has been inspired by Qatar’s unique ‘desert rose’ made from gypsum deposits in a crystallized form. It evokes and depicts the life of the Qatari people between the desert and the sea. The museum’s structure is located on Sheikh Abdullah Bin Jassim Al Thani’s old palace where he once lived and ran the country for 25 years. It is one of most recognisable landmarks in Qatar and serves as a monument to the historical way of life in the country which will be a fitting central exhibit within the museum once it opens.

Even though the museum has not yet opened, it has already won the prestigious ‘Façade Design and Engineering of the Year’ at the ABB LEAF Awards held in London last year and is the first project from the Gulf region to be highlighted in the “Best New Architectures of 2018” listing.

Visitors to the museum will get to learn more about Qatar’s ancestors and the dhows that were once a very important part of the country’s legacy, how the early cities were formed and the transformation of the country that has led up to modern Qatari society. Exhibitions in the museum will merge historical objects with modern influences and signify the impact made by the rapid change in the Qatari lifestyle.

National Museum of Qatar
Image Credit: Archinect

Presentations will be innovative and combine contemporary techniques to thrill and excite visitors with whole walls turning into movie-like screens and mobile phones guiding visors throw thematic displays.

Amenities

National Museum of Qatar Cafe
Image Credit: Qatar Museums
  • 220 seat auditorium
  • Gift shop
  • 2 retail outlets
  • 2 restaurants
  • Cafe
  • Food forum, preserving culinary traditions
  • Research centre
  • Laboratories
  • Park with indigenous plants
  • Free Wi-Fi

Contact Details

Address: Near Ras Abu Aboud Bridge, Along Al Corniche Street, Doha – Qatar

Tel: +974 4452 5555

Website: http://www.qm.org.qa/en/project/national-museum-qatar