As the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) celebrates its sixth anniversary since opening, new figures illustrate just how popular the museum, its exhibition spaces and collections have become with local and international communities.
MIA is the flagship cultural institution operated by Qatar Museums, under the leadership of its Chairperson H.E. Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani. In six years, it has become an instantly recognisable, iconic feature of Doha and one of the city’s most popular destinations for local and international visitors alike.
The appeal and success of MIA’s expansive collection of Islamic masterpieces along with its gallery space, restaurants, views and exhibitions is evident in the growth in visitor numbers as well as the museum’s popularity with local schools, levels of engagement with communities of fans and followers online and the increasing range and breadth of events being organised.
Monthly and yearly visitor numbers to the museum have been increasing steadily since 2012, and more than 1.5 million visitors have passed through its doors since it opened in 2008.
MIA has welcomed more than 14,500 schoolchildren to its galleries and Education Centre in the last year through its Schools Outreach Programme, helping to take MIA into the heart of the community and teach young people about Qatar’s origins to illuminate its future.
The museum has also built a huge online presence, reaching 1 million fans on Facebook (1,028,540 as of 7 December 2014). This milestone secures MIA’s top ten ranking among global museums with a presence on the platform, whilst its online following tops the leader board for museums in the MENA region.
To highlight this milestone, MIA will be installing photo backdrops that resemble a Facebook page around the museum to encourage visitors to share photos using the tag #MIAmillion. A series of “Thank You” videos have also been posted online, featuring museum staff of different nationalities thanking selected MIA Facebook fans from around the world.
Aisha Al Khater, Director of MIA, said: “Over the past six years, MIA has grown from strength to strength. We have evolved and developed in step with the local community as we share our masterpieces, exhibits and knowledge. We’re not simply a museum, we’re also a centre of knowledge and inspiration and a destination of choice for local and international communities, reflecting the diversity and depth of our culture. We want to share the knowledge of our experts with everybody, and make the most of the expertise we have here.”
Recent MIA exhibitions have presented new, never-before seen objects from its collection in creative new ways. This year’s Building Our Collection series of exhibitions featured MIA-produced films that gave viewers a sneak-peek into how the museum cares for its collection and highlighted the importance of its educational programmes in enhancing and inspiring learning in Qatar.
Al Khater added: “I am really proud of what we have achieved since opening our doors to the public six years ago, and would like to thank all our staff for their passion and commitment in building the presence of the museum. Through their work, we are bringing our spaces to life with events and expanding the exhibition experience to include workshops for kids and adults, lectures, behind-the-scenes tours, and film screenings. There is so much on offer here for visitors, and I hope we continue to inspire our supporters through our activities at the museum, in MIA park and through our ever-growing online community.”
Current exhibitions at MIA include:
· Building Our Collection: Mughal and Safavid Albums
17 September 2014 – 21 February 2015
Showcasing the museum’s collection of miniatures and calligraphy, these objects reveal the journey of artistic refinement form the Middle East to Asia and Europe across the centuries. It allows us to understand the significance of Islamic art collecting over the course of history and how this part of MIA’s collection was formed.
· The Tiger’s Dream: Tipu Sultan
29 September 2014 – 24 January 2015
This exhibition delves into the life and times of Tipu Sultan, the South Indian ruler, statesman, and patron. Drawn entirely from the MIA collection, and featuring many objects which have never been displayed in Qatar, the centerpiece is a group of 24 paintings showing Tipu’s victory at the Battle of Pollilur in 1780.
For more information on the Museum of Islamic Art, visit www.mia.org.qa
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