The Museum of Islamic Art (MIA), one of the world’s premier institutions of Islamic art, announced today that it will embark on a facilities enhancement project and reimagine and reinstall its permanent collection galleries to provide a more accessible, engaging and educational experience. The Museum, an architectural masterpiece designed by I.M. Pei, which opened in 2008, is renowned as a platform for international dialogue and exchange. The Museum is currently closed and will reopen in autumn 2022 in advance of the FIFA Qatar 2022 World Cup. MIA was the first institution opened by Qatar Museums under the leadership of its Chairperson, Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani.
“The opening of the Museum of Islamic Art was a transformational moment for Qatar, marking the nation’s emergence as a new cultural hub for the region and paving the way for establishing other major museums and galleries and presenting acclaimed exhibitions of local, regional and international artists,” said H.E. Sheikha Al Mayassa Al Thani, Chairperson of Qatar Museums. “In looking toward increased visitation at MIA, as Doha becomes more and more popular as a destination for international sporting events and cultural tourism, we decided this was an ideal time to refresh the iconic building and look anew at how our permanent collection is displayed. We will be excited to welcome the public back to the Museum next year.”
MIA Director Dr. Julia Gonnella said, “I am honoured to lead this extraordinary institution into its next chapter, embarking on an enhancement project that supports our new masterplan and provides the curatorial team with the opportunity to re-envision how we present the world-renowned permanent collection. This enhancement will benefit generations of visitors, providing an even more meaningful experience of artistic masterpieces across the entire Islamic world.”
The reimagining of the collection galleries will introduce a comprehensive visitor trail, create expanded interpretive materials to help contextualise the masterworks, and provide new mobile and child-friendly resources to make the Museum more accessible for families and younger visitors. The galleries will be organised according to broad historical and cultural themes, periods and geographic areas. Many newly acquired and conserved works of art will be on view with a large percentage displayed in the Museum’s permanent galleries for the first time, alongside the masterpieces for which the MIA is known internationally.
The enhanced and expanded amenities will ease visitor flow to serve a larger audience with a reframed entrance and upgrades to the Museum’s cafés and retail locations. All improvements to the building are in keeping with I.M. Pei’s vision. MIA will once again collaborate with the French interior design and architecture firm first retained by I.M. Pei, Wilmotte & Associés.
Throughout the project, the Museum’s Education Centre will remain open and continue to serve the needs of the community ‘both onsite and online’. Google Arts & Culture platform offers digital access to MIA's more than 200 objects in its collection and a virtual walkthrough of the Museum. A new 3D tour on Matterport will be available from mid-June via the MIA website.
MIA will also continue to produce new resources to make its collection accessible beyond the confines of the Museum, building upon two recent publications of collection highlights and the development of its online collection, which will ultimately comprise all works in MIA’s holdings. All other spaces – including the galleries, gift shop, café, and IDAM restaurant – will be closed to the public for the duration of the project.
As part of Qatar-USA 2021 Year of Culture, a special exhibition of exceptional textiles from the MIA’s collection, co-organised with The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art, will debut in Washington, D.C. in the fall of 2021.
Source: Press Release
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