The National Museum of Qatar (NMoQ) has welcomed more than 132,000 visitors in the first month since opening, firmly establishing its keystone role in the country’s cultural infrastructure. Since opening its doors to the public on March 28, the NMoQ’s immersive experience has attracted thousands of residents and tourists with its use of audio-visual presentations, digital exhibitions, historical artefacts and immersive, multisensory approach.
As the country’s national museum, NMoQ also strives to create a dialogue with members of the community to gather feedback, ideas and recommendations for improving the museum experience. It held the first ever seminar in Qatar to specifically address the field of Visitor Studies in museums and cultural institutions. Distinguished international speakers including Jo Hargreaves, Director of Morris Hargreaves MacIntyre, Dr Alexandra Bounia, Professor of Museum Studies at UCL Qatar, and Dr Karen Exell, Senior Museum Development Specialist at NMoQ, gave insightful presentations, and a keynote address was delivered by Professor John H. Falk from the Institute for Learning Innovation, Oregon State University.
As one of QM’s keystone institutions, NMoQ will also add to the flourishing creative environment in Qatar utilizing its resources to inspire young creatives. During the first of what will become a regular series of talks, NMoQ hosted “An Afternoon of Inspiration with Jeff Koons.” The interactive workshop allowed young artists to hear about the iconic creator’s experiences as a young artist, share his perspective on issues that concern artists at the start of their careers and get tips on developing their personal styles.
NMoQ artists have also run a series of creative drop-in workshops for families and adults on the theme of Qatar & the Sea throughout the month of April. Taking inspiration from the museum collections, artists guided participants through different techniques and media to create their own art pieces to take home.
Working with the community
The NMoQ is designed to become an integral part of the local community for all people of Qatar to enjoy, which means working with different organisations to create specialised programming to support learning objectives. For example, the NMoQ hosted Girl Scouts of America Overseas for a tour and activities session, which was the start of the organisation’s specially designed summer programme of activities at NMoQ. The NMoQ-designed summer programme will be linked to the themes and topics they are exploring (e.g. sustainability) and support them in using NMoQ facilities to run their own exploratory programmes to collect badges.
QM has also developed strong ties with local schools through a number of interactive and inclusive programmes, including the Teacher’s Council, and creative teaching materials. Since the museum opening, 18 schools visited NMOQ to discover its galleries and educational offerings.
Building on QM’s long-standing role as partner to Qatar’s educational institutions, NMoQ educators are also offering ‘welcome tours’ featuring insights into how the topics and themes of the museum can support classroom learning and curriculum development. Schools can now book structured workshop sessions taking place from September.
Looking to the future
NMOQ is planning a range of events and programmes to run across the summer, including launching “Activity Backpacks” which children and families could pick up at reception to have access to themed activities related to the gallery they are visiting. In collaboration with the Friends of the Environment Centre, NMoQ will be installing an insect breeding cage in the Natural Environments galleries for visitors to learn about and observe the lifecycle of insects, with FoEC specialists on hand to talk to visitors. Working with Al Thuraya Planetarium (Katara), NMoQ will launch a programme of in-gallery expert talks and short films connected to celestial navigation and traditional practices. Later in the year, to celebrate the opening of the NMoQ playgrounds in the fall, NMoQ will organise a week-long festival of family activities, including drama, film, art and food.
For Museum admissions visit: https://www.qm.org.qa/en/ticketing-terms-conditions
Source: Press release
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