Qatar Museums Authority
|Qatar Museums Authority|
Front view of "The QMA Tower, Qatar Museums Authority's building in Doha, Qatar"
|Public transit access||QMA Tower, Al Meena Street, Doha, Qatar PO Box 2777.|
The Qatar Museums Authority (QMA) is the peak body of museums in Qatar. The QMA was founded in late 2005 to manage the resources of all museums in the State of Qatar, to develop cultural institutions such as museums and galleries, and to provide an effective system for collecting, protecting, preserving and interpreting historic sites, monuments and artifacts.
The QMA was the bid leader for Qatar's successful candidature to join the UNESCO heritage panel in 2011. The chair of the board of trustees Al-Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, is the daughter of the current Emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, and other board members include Dominique de Villepin, the former Prime Minister of France.
The QMA is responsible for the construction, ongoing management and coordination of museums in Qatar, including:
- The Museum of Islamic art
- Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art
- The Qatar National Museum (not yet open)
- The Orientalist museum (open by appointment only)
More museums are scheduled to be open in the few coming years, such as the Sports Museum.
It is important to note that the scope of actions of the QMA goes beyond developing museums and art galleries and restoring archaeological sites to other activities, such as organizing and sponsoring various events locally and internationally. Notable examples of these are the yearly organization of an international film festival called Doha Tribeca Film Festival, the installation of a Louise Bourgeois giant sculpture in the Qatar National Convention Center, the sponsoring of the World Cinema Foundation, the sponsoring of the Japanese artist Takashi Murakami's exhibition in Château de Versailles, and the planned sponsorship of an exhibition of English artist and art collector Damien Hirst at Tate Modern in 2012.
Values Statement 
- Passionate - Inspire others, love our work
- Empowering - Enable leadership and responsibility
- Collaborative - Work as a team with colleagues and partners
- Creative - Harness our talent for invention and innovation
- Professional - Excellence and efficiency in all we do
- Ethical - Firm adherence to ethical standards
- Communicative - Accessible and transparent in our interactions
Be a global leader in the world of museums, art and heritage.
QMA’s mission is to develop, promote and sustain museums, art and heritage at the highest global standards for community engagement, education, and enjoyment in Qatar and beyond by:
- Developing and showcasing world class collections in world class architecture
- Exploring, protecting and promoting archeological and heritage sites
- Developing unique programs independently and in partnership
- Proposing national policies to build a vibrant museum, art and heritage sector
- Being at the forefront of research and innovation
- Being a place for artists and creators to express themselves
- Offering the best career opportunities to create leaders of tomorrow
- Engaging in cultural dialogue and educational programs that build bridges between nations
- Fostering national pride and engaging in cultural diplomacy on behalf of the State and in trust for the people of Qatar
The Qatar Museums Authority was established in 2005 by Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the Emir of Qatar. Its main goal was to manage the historical and archaeological sites of the country, to supervise the activities of Qatari museums, and to oversee the development of a number of museums scheduled to be open and working in the few coming years.
During the years, the scope of activities of the QMA widened and the authority soon became the managing body of an ambitious plan that aims to make Qatar a world-class cultural destination, notably in modern and contemporary art.
Cultural Policy 
Qatar’s National Vision 2030 
The QMA is one of the institutions that marks the Persian Gulf as an area of substantial development of public cultural institutions. It is also one of the organisms carrying out Qatar’s National Vision 2030 program which strives for the comprehensive development and the progress and prosperity of the Qatari people. Heritage-led developments play a key role in this program, for among its challenges is the wish to mould modernization around local culture and traditions by maintaining Arab and Islamic identity, while showing openness towards other cultures. Sheikha Mayassa mission is for the QMA to turn Qatar into a cultural powerhouse. The Economist reported that a trustee said “Above all, we want the QMA to be a ‘cultural instigator', a catalyst of arts projects worldwide”. The implementation of cultural policies by the QMA has contributed to Doha been named the Arab Capital of Culture in 2010, an initiative taken by the Arab League under the UNESCO.
Link to Tourism Policies 
Qatar declared an ambition to transform its capital Doha into an arts and culture hub for world tourists, at a meeting of the World Tourism Organization's Committee for the Middle East in 2010. The Qatar Tourism Authority chairman Ahmed al-Nuaimi subsequently unveiled a plan for promoting both the domestic and international tourism for the country. Central to this campaign is the role of the QMA to raise Qatar's cultural profile through creation and nourishment of its museums and other projects.
As part of the promotion strategy of QMA’s museums and sites of interest, the QMA’s Cultural Tourism Unit has been working with the COP 18 organising committee to offer a ‘Cultural Indulgence Tour Package‘ for high-level visitors arriving in Doha.
World Heritage List 
As part of Qatar's candidature to join the UNESCO heritage panel in 2011, the QMA placed the Archaeological site of Al-Zubarah town with its fort and its cultural landscape and Khor Al-Adaid natural reserve on the Qatari's World Heritage Tentative list.
Projects abroad 
It has also sponsored cultural projects in other sectors like in film. For example they produced the film “Be Amusing” film, which was awarded the eminent “Black Dolphin” trophy in the “Best Editing” category at the 2012 Cannes Corporate Media & TV Awards.
The Qatar Museums Authority is overseen by a board of trustees headed by Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, the daughter of the ruling Emir of the State of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani.
Board Members 
The board includes as well the following members:
- Sheikh Hassan bin Mohammed Al-Thani, vice chairman
- Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Attiyah, board member who is also the deputy prime minister of the State of Qatar
- Abdulla bin Khalifa Al-Attiya, board member
- Sheikh Abdul Rahman bin Saud Al Thani, board member
- Mohamed Abdul Raheem Kafoud, board member
- Dominique de Villepin, board member and former French prime minister
- Marie-Josee Kravis, board member and a prominent economist
Another member, Thomas Leisten, who is a specialist in Islamic Art, left the board of the trustees in early 2012.
Recruiting from abroad 
The QMA recruits heavily from abroad, especially at a senior level. Edward Dolman, Christie's one-time British chief executive, is the QMA CEO and runs Sheikha Mayassa's office. The director of the public-arts programme is a Dutchman, Jean-Paul Engelen, who also came from Christie's. The director of the MIA is Aisha Al Khater, the first Qatari woman to gain a degree in music who completed her post graduate diploma in Islamic Art from School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London. Two more are about to join them, an expert on manuscripts and another on coins.
Qatar Museums Authority currently runs four museums.
The QMA's museums have received worldwide attention, particularly the Museum of Islamic art (MIA), putting themselves in line with other museum developments in the area such as Abu Dhabi’s (UAE) projected Guggenheim and Louvre. Critics such as Hans-Ulrich Obrist, director of London’s Serpentine Gallery, have argued that Doha takes a different approach to museums from that of Abu Dhabi, aspiring to a new model that does not "copy existing models or replicate western museums, but acknowledges local difference". Martyn Best, director of Cultural Innovations said that "Qatar is the furthest ahead in thinking about how to develop a contemporary Middle Eastern model", searching for a new paradigm for the museums of the 21st century.
All the museums developed by the QMA have included Islamic or Qatari elements either in their architectural design or in their overall concept. In this way its strives in the creation of its own brand trying not to be too commercial. This policy is a reflection of the Qatar Foundation's fourth pillar 'community development' which strives to help foster a progressive society while also enhancing cultural life, protecting Qatar’s heritage and addressing immediate social needs in the community. The QMA has repeatedly chosen world famous foreign starchitects to design its museums but they insist the architects sought inspiration in Middle Eastern architectural models.
The Museum of Islamic art (MIA) 
The QMA chose I.M. Pei to design the Museum of Islamic Art. Pei found inspiration in great Islamic architectural examples for the Museum of Islamic Art, in particular the in the 19th-century mosque of Ahmed Ibn Tulun, Cairo. Pei attempted to find a balance between the grand Islamic past and the modern. Jodidio, author of the first publication on MIA describes it as the development that will ‘bridge the gap between tradition and modernity, highlighting the power of culture to transcend differences and cross artificial barriers’ inscribing it in the Qatar's Foundation fourth pillar.
Mathaf, which was opened on 30 December 2010, houses more than 6,000 20th-century artworks all by Qatari or Middle Eastern artists, centring itself around Islam and its inspiration. The museum is currently located in a former school in Doha’s Education City that was redesigned by French architect Jean-François Bodin for this purpose. The heart of the museum is the collection of His Excellency Sheikh Hassan bin Mohamed bin Ali Al Thani, a member of Qatar’s ruling family who is himself an artist and enthusiastic art collector. Mathaf’s programme, exhibitions and events offer an Arab perspective on international modern and contemporary art, and serve as a platform for Arab artists.
The Qatar National Museum (not yet open) 
Jean Nouvel who has already deigned the new Doha 9 skyscraper in West Bay Doha, has chosen a design that alludes to the desert for the Qatar National Museum, the environment most valued by the Qatari people. The design of the desert rose, which is meant to be open to the sea yet anchored in the desert alludes to the fishermen and pearl divers of pre-oil Qatar and will thus inscribe the modern museum in Qatari heritage in line with QMA cultural policies. The National Museum of Qatar originally opened in 1975 in the historic palace of Fariq Al Salatah, built by heikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al-Thani and served as the seat of government for 25 years. The monument will now be preserved at the heart of the new museum. The relation between the new and old building is part of creating the bridge between the past and the present advocated by Sheikha Al Mayassa for it is the way to ‘define ourselves instead of forever being defined by others… celebrating our identity’.
The QMA Youtube Chanel provides visuals and further information on the future museum.
The Orientalist museum (open by appointment only) 
The QMA is also managing ALRIWAQ Doha Exhibition Space, as well as the QMA Gallery at Katara. The recent exhibition opening of Hey'Ya: Arab Women in Sports at the QMA Gallery in Katara was attended by Meryl Streep and Brigitte Lacombe.
Qatar Museums Authority hosts many collections that are mostly related to the country and region's history and archeology. Some of the collections are permanently exhibited in the various museums, while others are only exhibited during temporary exhibitions.
Arms and armours 
The Arms and armours collection is composed of weaponry that was once used in Qatar and in the Arab Peninsula. The collection is divided into three main categories: "Cavalry", "Armour", and "Blades, Swords & Spears".
- The Cavalry collection traces the history of the "mounted warrior" from ancient civilisations right up until World War I. For many centuries, the use of the horse conferred a powerful advantage in battle. This collection includes equipment such as saddles, chaffrons, and other artifacts from the ancient civilizations.
- The Armour collection includes weaponry and armour crafted from animal hide, bone, and wood, as well as various types of metal armour from the Bronze and Iron Ages.
- The "Blades, Swords & Spears" collection includes cutting, stabbing or bludgeoning weapons, such as swords, knives, blades, pikes, bayonets, combat spears or clubs.
Costumes, textile and jewellery 
QMA Collection of Costumes is particularly valuable in its relation to the history of Qatar and of the Gulf region. The collection includes also a wide range of traditional clothes for men, women and kids, as well as traditional clothes for tradesmen and robes for civil servants. Ornaments, trinkets, jewels and accessories are also part of the collection.
The collection is divided into four categories:
- Men’s Clothes:
This collection includes various outfits such as al-thawb (main traditional dress), thawb alshadd (made of light wool) and comes without a collar), the bisht (a cloak usually made of wool, the sirwaal (pants worn under al-thawb), the ziboon (a sort of luxurious dress), and the ghutra (a head cover made of cotton).
- Women’s Clothes:
This collection includes long and flowing outfits, such as the darra’ah (a long dress), the thawb (a flowing, baggy robe), and the abaya (the cloak, a dress that covers the woman from the top of her head to the feet).
This collection is composed of a wide range of golden and silver jewelleries, decorations and ornaments from Qatar and the Gulf area.
- Dappling and Embroidery:
This collection is composed of clothes embroidered in three traditional ways: Alkoraar, which is a hand-made stripe; Alnaqdah, which is an ornament made of palm leaves embroidered with tali threads, and Altali, which is stripes made of metal threads in geometrical shape.
Islamic coins 
This collection includes many gold and silver coins (Dinars, Dirhams and Fils). It provides valuable information on Islamic history that is not usually found in historical documents and literature, and helps establish facts and the truth about a number of common historical fallacies.
The collection is divided into three main categories:
- Coins of the Abbasids (132-656 AH/ 749-1258 AD), which are inspired by the Umayyad coinage system, with the exception of adding certain religious phrases. Several new coins were introduced during the reign of the Khalifat Al-Amin, with new phrases and names. Some of the coins had also the name of the cities where they were minted on them.
- Coins of the Fatimids (297 -567 AH/ 909-1171 AD), which were similar to those of the first Abbasid Dynasty period with the addition of the phrases "Abdullah, the Amir of Faithful" and "Al-Imam, Al-Mahdi Billah". Al Muiz Lideen Illah issued later different coins with words, emblems and a round shape.
- Al-Malwiyat coins, which are straight or hook-shaped coins used for commercial purposes with the West Coast of India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives.
Natural history 
Qatar’s Natural History Collection is composed of fossils of plants and animals that existed millions of years ago in Qatar and the Gulf region. The collection includes also some of the rarest rocks and minerals in the world, with different dimensions, shapes, colours and origins.
QMA's collection of photography covers the period between the first commercially available apparatus in 1839 to the present time, and is divided into two main categories:
- Photographic equipment:
This collection comprises lenses, viewers, early darkroom and processing equipment, early studio furniture and lighting, and photography-related toys and ephemera. It also includes cameras developed for special purposes, such as panoramic cameras, stereoscopic cameras, detective and spy cameras, underwater and aerial cameras, three-colour cameras and tropical cameras.
Moreover, the collection includes examples of the earliest motion picture cameras and projectors (magic lanterns, optical toys, etc.).
- Photographic images:
This collection includes several photos made using the daguerreotype technology, which was one of the first and most expensive photographic processes. The collection also includes images printed on paper using albumen and gelatin silver prints. Some of the photos in the collection are masterworks done well-known photographers as Gustave Le Gray, Francis Frith, Édouard Baldus, Felice Beato, Pierre Dubreuil, Eli Lotar and others.
Modern art 
In recent years, the Qatar Museums Authority emerged as the biggest art buyer in the world, spending a reported $1 billion on art, including $250m for Paul Cézanne’s The Card Players (1895), although purchases have never been officially confirmed. According to French newspaper Le Figaro in 2013, the QMA acquired Pablo Picasso’s Child with a Dove (1901) for £50 million.
Borrowing from other collections 
The QMA often borrows from other museums in order to vary its exhibitions. The MIA “Gifts of the Sultan” exhibitions that started last year in Los Angeles included objects from Russia's Hermitage museum. The Qatari version of the British Museum's new “Haj” was supposed to have objects from the Topkapi Palace museum which were blocked by the Turkish authorities. Through these exhbitions the QMA links its museums with other world renowned ones. Responding to a British block on two major art works that the QMA bought at auction in London, the Qataris negotiated long-term loan agreements with two British museums that will also provide help in training Qatari staff.
Archeological projects 
Since its inception, the Qatar Museums Authority has managed several archeological projects, including excavation, restoration, and fencing projects. These efforts helped uncover, protect and document sites such as Al-Khor, Marwab, Umbab, and Zubara. The restoration of Al Zubarah Fort will certainly help its candidature as a World Heritage Site.
Buildings Restored 
- Abu Manartain Mosque No 328 (Al-Wakra)
- Sumaisma Mosque No 468 (Sumaisma)
- Al-Owaina Mosque No 367 (Dukhan)
It has also preserved other buildings such as:
- Al-Wakra Castle (Al-Wakra)
- Abdulla Bin Thani's House (Gharrafa)
- Al-Nejada Houses (Al-Nejada)
- Sheikh Ghanim Bin Abdulrahman House (Al-Wakra)
- Al-Shaqab Stable
- Al-Wajba Castle (Al-Wajba)
Proposed Restoration projects 
The restoration of other sites such as the Villages Al-Mufair, Al-Gharriya, Al-Jumail, Al-Jumailiya, mosques, souqs is currently programmed.
The Qatar Museums Authority releases regularly publications on arts, archaeology, Islamic history, and oriental studies; both in English and Arabic. Examples of these books are "Qatari-British relations 1914-1949" by Yousif Ibrahim Al Abdullah (1999),"From Cordoba to Samarqand" by Dr. Sabiha Al Khemir (2006), and "Traditional Architecture in Qatar" by Mohammad Jassim Al-Khulaifi (2003).
Qatar Museums Authority entered into a three-way partnership with University College London and Qatar Foundation in 2011. University College London has established UCL Qatar at Education City, a center of excellence for the study of museology, conservation and archaeology. UCL provides Master's degrees in these areas, as well as short specialist courses delivered for QMA staff.
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- Archaeological discovery in western Qatar sheds new light on early man in the Gulf Times, 7 September 2008
- Qatar wins seat to join Unesco heritage panel in the Gulf Times, 16 November 2011
- Qatar Museums Authority - Board of Trustees
- Doha Tribeca Film Festival
- Qatar Museums Authority Unveils Louise Bourgeois Sculpture at Qatar National Convention Center
- Qatar Airways And Qatar Museum Authority Support World Cinema Foundation At Cannes International Film Festival
- Takashi Murakami at the Château de Versailles
- Takashi Murakami at the Palace of Versailles
- Press Release: Damien Hirst in Tate Modern
- Qatari royal family sponsors Damien Hirst retrospective at Tate Modern
- Qatar revealed as the world’s biggest contemporary art buyer
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- Qatar Museums Authority - Photographic Technology
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- Qatar Museums Authority - Photographs
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- Qatar Museums Authority - Archaeology at the QMA
- Qatar Museums Authority - Publications