#QATARILITMONTH: The National Museum of Qatar

What Makes Qatar A Large Museum

The National Museum of Qatar.
By Danica O. Kus https://www.arc-magazine.com/national-museum-of-qatar-qatar/

Qatar is a small country in terms of land space of 11,627 km2 with a population of 2,326,464, but the services and cultural institutes are bigger than its land. With more than 25 museums and cultural institutes such as, Qatar National Museum, Musherib Museums, Shiekh Faisal bin Qassim Museum, Museum of Islamic Art, Bin Jalmood House, and most recently the one-of-a-kind Dadu: Children’s Museum of Qatar, Qatar has successfully enriched the overall heritage sector to display Qatari, Arabic, and Islamic culture.

Accessing these cultural institutions is free to the public, whether citizen or visitor. It is a luxurious experience to understand what our ancestors have added to our collective history. The metro links from Doha International Airport passes by most of those museums. Any visitor or transit passenger could visit and see this amazing architecture and collections with a single ticket.

NMoQ Entrance. Photo by the Author, Haya Al- Sheeb

Among all of the spectacular museums, National Museum of Qatar (NMoQ) is the most recent one. The Opening ceremony was held in March 2019. Designed by Jean Nouvel,  the Pritzker Prize-winning French architect, who designed Abu Dhabi Louvre. He symbolized Qatar in a futuristic, sand-colored NMoQ that resembles a giant desert rose. The desert rose is a crystal that occurs naturally in deserts.

The map of NMoQ is amazingly drawn, so you would visualize it as a spectacular journey through the history of Qatar. Below is the Map provided by NMoQ.

Map of NMoQ. Source: Concept © Ateliers Jean Nouvel

Entering the museum is similar to entering a beautiful time capsule, You would start your journey by seeing the formation of Qatar, starting from 12000 BC and then moving forward. You would also be astonished by the geological changes that occurred to the land over billions of years, not only to Qatar, but to the Gulf states too.

Each section of each gallery is filled with information regarding the items showed. Also, if you wish to see more graphics or tutorials, you can always scan the barcode of the information provided to expand your experience.

In addition, you will be able to learn more about natural ecological habitats of Qatar and our efforts to maintain them, such as taking care of rare species that live here, like that Arabian Oryx.

The Arabian Oryx Sanctuary, also known as Al-Maha Sanctuary, is the only breeding place in Qatar for the Oryx, a small antelope that is considered the country’s national emblem – such as the symbol of the national airline, Qatar Airways, and as the mascot of the 2006 Asian Games. These creatures were once on the verge of extinction, but now the sanctuary breeds the Arabian Oryx in captivity, producing 75-100 calves each year.

In NMoQ, you will also be able to witness the evolution of Doha’s architecture and urban planning. You will be able to see the old building that were made of rocks and gypsum before the current steel and cement buildings. You will also enjoy learning more of the conservation sites and the reconstruction of traditional architecture in Qatar.

Exiting the museum is no less impressive than the magnificent entry, where you could see the hall of achievements by Qatar’s founders. One of the spectacular walls is dedicated to his highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad bin Abdullah bin Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani (1932 – 23 October 2016; Arabic: خليفة بن حمد آل ثاني‎)- who was the Emir of Qatar from 27 February 1972 until the 27 June 1995.

Lastly, NMoQ is becoming part of Google’s Arts and Culture initiative. This partnership rose from NMoQ’s efforts and dedication in bringing to life the unique story of Qatar and its people.  As mentioned on the NMoQ official website, “It actively gives voice to the nation’s rich heritage and culture and demonstrates our extensive network of ties with other nations and people around the world. Designed as a vibrant and immersive space, diverse communities can come together and experience Qatar’s past, present and future.”

Book Recommendations

National Museum of Qatar (Special Souvenir Edition)
by Jodidio Philip
(2020) Thames & Hudson
ISBN: ‎9780500022788
Museums in Arabia : Transnational Practices and Regional Processes 
By Karen Exell and Sarina Wakefie
(2016) Routledge
ISBN: 9781472464620

Written By:

Haya Al-Sheeb

Information Services Librarian, Qatar National Library

Haya choose to work in this profession due to her passion in building up a conscious, educated, and reading community. Haya specializes in Geography.

Source: Instagram @qnl_engage

#QatariLitMonth is curated by Abeer S. Al-Kuwari. Abeer works as director of Research and Learning Services at the newly established Qatar National Library (QNL). Abeer’s work focuses on engaging library researchers in the Qatari community to explore archival and libraries as Memory institutions and documentary heritage. She is a founding member of the Library and Information Association in Qatar (LIA-Q), which was established in 2014. You can follow her on Twitter at  ‎@Abeer78k

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