MUSEUMS IN QATAR: INTERNATIONAL MUSEUMS DAY 2023 By Josephine Justin - May 18, 2023


Known for their beautiful display of the country’s history, Qatar has some of the most magnificent museums in the world. 

From architecture and cultural diversity- to traditions and sports, the museums give you an insight into Qatar’s progression over the years, in addition to bringing you some of the most beautiful artworks from around the globe. 

International Museums Day is celebrated on May 18th and this year's theme is Museum, sustainability and well-being. 

With around 20 unique museums, most of them free to visit, you’re sure to find yourself on an adventure! Here are some of our favorite museums that we definitely recommend a trip to atleast once.

Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) 

The Museum of Islamic Art houses a vast range of Islamic masterpieces from all over the muslim world. MIA showcases 14 centuries of Islamic art and artifacts from around the world. It has a combination of tradition and modernity. There are rare manuscripts and texts on display. The museum also includes metal work, ceramics, jewellery, woodwork, textiles, coin and glass. The museum was opened to the public on 8 December 2008, and has since become the most visited attraction in Qatar.

Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art

Located in Education city, the Mathaf museum was established in 2010. It comprises more than 9000 pieces of Arabian art from the 19th century to modern day making it the biggest collection of Arab art in the region. Founded over a decade ago, the Mathaf Museum features both traditional as well as contemporary work by some of the most well known artists in the region. 

The permanent collection galleries at Mathaf bring together notable artists and important pieces from the Middle East and other areas with historical connections to Qatar and the Arab Peninsula. Some of its permanent exhibitions include Women in Society, Portraits of Changing Societies, New Vocabularies in Post-independence Contexts, Mathematics and Universal Systems of Perception, and The Re-invention of Materials. The museum also hosts a wide range of temporary exhibitions and events details to which can be found on their website.

National Museum of Qatar (NMOQ)

Apart from the art, the national museum of qatar is an iconic building in itself. Jean Nouvel designed the building taking inspiration from the naturally occurring crystal formations, the desert rose. It is the biggest museum in Qatar.

The museum showcases artworks, stories and other collections that tell the visitors about Qatar's heritage and modern society. It paints you the story of what Qatar was and what it is now. As you walk around, you may notice the walls become a part of the display, a feature that is unique to the museum. The audio, the visuals and the surroundings come together to make you feel like you’re in the desert. This is the first museum to get LEED Gold certification and a four-star sustainability rating from the Global Sustainability Assessment System.

It was also named one of the best places to visit in 2019 by times magazine.

3-2-1 Qatar Olympic Sports Museum 

The Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum is the first one of its kind in the world. 3-2-1 was designed as a fun, interactive storyteller of Qatar’s sports history. In this museum, the visitor is invited to go on an exciting journey through time and experience the evolution of sports. There are seven galleries inside, one of them showing the development of sports in Qatar and sporting events hosted by qatar.

It is a member of the Olympic Museum Network, which currently includes 22 Olympic museums worldwide.

Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum 

FBQ Museum is located within the Al Samriya estate and Features the private collection of Sheikh Faisal.There are more than 30,000 objects on display, and consists of ancient artifacts, furniture, islamic art, weapons, vintage cars. The collection also includes artifacts from the jurassic age. The collection displayed is handpicked by Sheikh Faisal himself. The FBQ museum has more than 600 antique vehicles, traditional Syrian home reassembled onsite and over 700 hand-woven carpets. If you are a car and automobiles lover, this museum is definitely for you!

Doha Fire Station

Built in 1982 and once a fully operational fire station, The Doha Fire Station is a 700 sq meter exhibition space and gallery in the heart of Doha, right next to Al Bidda Family Park. The fire station was redesigned and converted by the Qatar Museums Authority in partnership with renowned architect Ibrahim Al Jaidah, committed to preserve the original structure and semblance of Doha’s first civil defense site. Majaz: Contemporary Art Qatar is the current exhibition featured at the Doha Fire Station until February 2023.

Doha Fire Station is home to Alain Ducasse’s Cafe 999 which was recently revamped into a retro chic culinary space with help from artists and creatives. In addition, the building features studios and workspaces, a woodshop, the Fire Station Cinema, a fabrication lab and an art supply shop.

Al Riwaq Gallery

Founded in 2010, The Gallery AlRiwaq is situated in front of the Museum of Islamic Art. It has played a significant role in making Qatar the hub of art and culture both within the region and globally. It is a permanent gallery space for temporary exhibitions and currently houses well known contemporary art pieces. Takashi Murakami, Damien Hirst, and most recently Jeff Koons are just a few of the well-known international artists that have previously performed there. 

Al Thuraya Planetarium

Located on the banks on Katara Beach, the Planetarium is a one-of-its kind museum offering visitors a captivating opportunity to explore the mysteries of the universe. The planetarium features a dome-shaped theater equipped with cutting-edge technology that accurately replicates the night sky, providing an immersive experience for viewers.

Inside the Al Thuraya Planetarium, visitors are treated to a visually stunning display of celestial phenomena, including stars, planets, galaxies, and cosmic events like meteor showers and eclipses. The high-resolution projection system, combined with surround sound and informative narration, creates a mesmerizing tour of the cosmos.

Museum of Illusions

The Museum of Illusions in Qatar is a captivating and interactive museum that features a range of exhibits that challenge perception and spark the imagination. From mind-boggling optical illusions to gravity-defying rooms, the museum offers an array of interactive installations designed to deceive and intrigue visitors. 

Highlights include the Ames Room, where visitors appear to shrink or grow dramatically, and the Infinity Room, which creates an illusion of endless space through mirrors. The museum showcases tricks of perspective, holograms, stereograms, and other visual illusions, encouraging visitors to question their perception and learn about the science behind visual processing.The museum aims to provide both entertainment and education, making it suitable for families, school groups, and tourists seeking a mind-bending adventure

By Josephine Justin - May 18, 2023

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