Museum of Islamic Art, Doha

Coordinates: 25°17′42.06732″N 51°32′21.35562″E / 25.2950187000°N 51.5392654500°E / 25.2950187000; 51.5392654500
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Museum of Islamic Art
متحف الفن الإسلامي
Museum of Islamic Art (rightmost building) in 2023
Interactive fullscreen map
Established22 November 2008 (2008-11-22)
LocationDoha, Qatar
Coordinates25°17′42.06732″N 51°32′21.35562″E / 25.2950187000°N 51.5392654500°E / 25.2950187000; 51.5392654500
TypeArt Museum
DirectorJulia Gonnella
OwnerQatar Museums

The Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) is a museum on one end of the seven-kilometer-long (4.3 mi) Corniche in Doha, Qatar. As per the architect I. M. Pei's specifications, the museum is built on an island off an artificial projecting peninsula near the traditional dhow harbor. A purpose-built park surrounds the edifice on the eastern and southern facades while two bridges connect the southern front facade of the property with the main peninsula that holds the park.[1] The western and northern facades are marked by the harbor showcasing the Qatari seafaring past. In September 2017, Qatar Museums appointed Julia Gonnella as new director of MIA.[2]


The museum hosts the restaurant IDAM led by the head chef Alain Ducasse.[3] The restaurant is inspired by French Mediterranean cuisine. IDAM also offers master classes in cooking artisanal bread and raw foods.[4] The museum has a park,[5] workshops for schools and the general public,[6] and a library that provides information about Islamic Arts in both English and Arabic. The library also has nine study rooms.[7]

Adjacent to the museum is the MIA Park, a waterfront open space administered by the museum. It features cafes, a children's play area, and 7, a vertical steel sculpture by American sculptor Richard Serra.[8] A bazaar is also held at the park, having started in 2012 as a once a month event, but eventually being hosted twice a week since late 2016.[9] After being paused in 2022 due to the Covid-19 pandemic,[10] the bazaar was held again in late February 2023.[11]


The museum is influenced by traditional Islamic architecture[12] yet has a uniquely modern design involving geometric patterns. It is the first of its kind to feature over 14 centuries of Islamic art in the Arab States of the Persian Gulf.[13]

Occupying an area of 45,000 m2 (480,000 sq ft), the museum is on an artificial peninsula overlooking the south end of Doha Bay.[14] Construction of the building was done by a Turkish company, Baytur Construction, in 2006. The interior gallery spaces were designed by a team of Wilmotte Associates. The museum was opened on November 22, 2008, by the then-emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad.[15] It opened to the general public on December 8, 2008.[16][17]

At 91 years of age, the museum's architect, I. M. Pei had to be coaxed out of retirement to undertake this enterprise. He traveled throughout the Muslim world on a six-month quest to learn about Muslim architecture and history and read Muslim texts to draw inspiration for his design.[18] According to Pei, the light fountain in 9th century Ibn Tulun Mosque of Cairo was the inspiration.[19]

Declining all proposed sites for the museum, he suggested a stand-alone island for the structure to avoid encroachments by other buildings in the future. It was built off an artificial peninsula, approximately 60 m (200 ft) off the Doha Corniche and surrounded by a somewhat crescent-shaped 290,000 m2 (3,100,000 sq ft) park.[18] Pei requested that the museum spaces be designed by his collaborator on the Louvre project, Wilmotte & Associates, who then assembled a design team including Plowden & Smith (conservation consultants), Isometrix Lighting + Design (lighting consultants), and SG Conseil (AV Consultants) under Turner Projacs. Along with this design team, Leslie E. Robertson Associates was the structural engineer for the project.

The main building consists of the five floors, the main dome, and the central tower. It is connected with the education ward via a large central court.[20] Pei utilized creamy limestone for the outer facades to emphasize the various shades during the different times of the day. The five floors are covered by a glass facade to the north, and it provides a panoramic view of the Persian Gulf. The interior of the building is decorated by several Islamic arts, and the large metallic chandelier hung over the main staircase of the lobby.[21] Many elements found in Ibn Tulun Mosque are represented in the building as an abstract form. This enables the agreement with values and principles of the postmodern architecture historical trend which synchronize the modernity and the historical Islamic architectural identity.[19]

Renovation 2022[edit]

As preparation for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the Museum of Islamic Art announced in June 2021 that it would be closed for renovation works until autumn 2022, to upgrade its main entrance, galleries, lecture hall and further indoor spaces.[22][23] In June 2022 MIA Director Julia Gonnella[24] introduced the museum's revised concept of an 'immersive cultural experience'[25] to attract additional visitors and to enable families and young visitors to explore Islamic art.[26] In August 2022 the official reopening date was confirmed for 5 October 2022 with an increased number of more than 1,100 mostly newly acquired exhibits on display. The renovations provided better accessibility and an improved educational environment[27] including digital presentations and subjects interesting to younger visitors. The museum also added a 3-D tour to its website.[28]

The museum reopened on 4 October 2022, during the National Cultural Event of "Qatar Creative",[29] which provides an opportunity to bring together Qatar's creative industries with the wider public community.[30] Its 18 newly renovated galleries, covering an area of 480,000 square feet, display Islamic art from the seventh to the 20th centuries, divided according to their historical eras and their cultural and geographical backgrounds,[31] which allows visitors of modern Doha an extended insight into Islamic history.[32] The renovated museum's first exhibition, Baghdad: Eye's Delight presents the traditions and history of Iraq's capital.[33] The exhibition includes also objects loaned from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Louvre in Paris.[34]

The Museum of Islamic Arts


The Museum of Islamic Art represents Islamic art from three continents over 1,400 years.[35] Its collection includes metal work, ceramics, jewelry, wood work, textiles, and glass obtained from three continents and dating from the 7th to the 20th century.[36]

The museum houses a collection of work gathered since the late 1980s including manuscripts, textiles and ceramics.[37] It is one of the world's most complete collections of Islamic artifacts, with items originating in Spain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, India, and Central Asia.[38]


An important Quranic manuscript within the collection is MS.474.2003.[39] The museum also owns a page of the Blue Qur'an, an indigo-dyed manuscript created over 1,000 years ago that is one of the most elaborate Qur'ans in the world.[40][41]


Exhibitions organized by MIA include:

  • Ferozkoh: Tradition and Continuity in Afghan Art, March 2013 to July 2013.[42]
  • Steel and Gold – Historic Swords from the MIA collection, May 2013 to December 2013.[43]
  • Hajj: The Journey through Art, October 2013 to January 2014.[44]
  • Radiant, January 2014 to March 2014.[45]
  • Kings & Pawns: Board Games from India to Spain, March 2014 to June 2014.[46]
  • Ceramics of al-Andalus from April 2014 to August 2014.[47]
  • The Tiger's Dream: Tipu Sultan, September 2014 to February 2015.[48]
  • Mughal and Safavid Albums, September 2014 to February 2015.[49]
  • Marvellous Creatures: Animal Fables in Islamic Art, March 2015 to July 2015.[50]
  • The Hunt: Princely Pursuits in Islamic Lands, September 2015 to January 2016.[51]
  • Qajar Women: Images of Women in the 19th century Iran, April 2015 to June 2016.[52]
  • Muhammad Ali: Tribute to a Legend, July 2016 to February 2017.[53]
  • Imperial Threads: Motifs and artisans from Turkey, Iran and India, March 2017 to January 2018.[54]
  • Powder and Damask: Islamic Arms and Armour from the Collection of Fadel Al-Mansoori, August 2017 to May 2018.[55]
  • Syria Matters, November 2018 to April 2019.[56]
  • Set in Stone: Gems and Jewels from Royal Indian Courts, October 2019 to January 2020.[57]
  • A Falcon's Eye - Tribute to Sheikh Saoud Al Thani, August 2020 to April 2021.[58]
  • Baghdad: Eye’s Delight, October 2022 to February 2023.[59][60]
  • Safar, October 2022 to January 2023.[61][62]
  • Raku Kichizaemon XV·Jikinyū: A Living Tradition of Japanese Pottery, November 2022 to March 2023.[63][64]
  • Yayoi Kusama: My Soul Blooms Forever, November 2022 to March 2023.[65][66]
  • City of Mirage: Baghdad, from Wright to Venturi, 1952-1982, October 2022 to February 2023.[67]
  • Mosques in Qatar: Then and Now, Museum of Islamic Art, June 2023 to August 2023.[68]
  • "Fashioning an Empire: Textiles from Safavid Iran", October 2023 to April 2024.[69]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "MIA Park". Retrieved 2022-05-19.
  2. ^ "Qatar Museums Names Julia Gonnella Director of the Museum of Islamic Art –". Retrieved 2022-03-09.
  3. ^ "IDAM". Retrieved 2022-05-19.
  4. ^ "IDAM". Retrieved 2019-04-02.
  5. ^ "Park Map". Retrieved 2019-04-02.
  6. ^ "Learning at the Museum of Islamic Art". Retrieved 2019-04-23.
  7. ^ "Using the Library". Retrieved 2019-04-16.
  8. ^ "MIA Park | Doha, Qatar | Attractions". Lonely Planet. Retrieved 2023-01-25.
  9. ^ "MIA Park bazaar now held twice a week". 2016-12-24. Retrieved 2023-09-29.
  10. ^ "Museum of Islamic Art suspends all activities in January". Qatar Day. Retrieved 2023-09-29.
  11. ^ "Vibrant community comes together as weekend bazaar returns at MIA Park". 2023-02-22. Retrieved 2023-09-29.
  12. ^ Lawrence, Lee (2022-01-29). "'Fashioning an Empire: Safavid Textiles From the Museum of Islamic Art, Doha' Review: The Fabric of a Dynasty". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2022-02-18.
  13. ^ Behance. "MIA, DOHA". Behance. Retrieved 2021-11-23.
  14. ^ "Museum architecture". Retrieved 2022-05-19.
  15. ^ "Doha, Qatar, a New Arts Capital". The New York Times. 2009-01-08. Retrieved 2021-03-18.
  16. ^ "Meet the women museum directors changing the way we think about art". Christie's. 2021-03-08. Retrieved 2021-03-18.
  17. ^ "Pei's Doha museum reflects splendor of Islamic art". International Herald Tribune. November 23, 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-23.
  18. ^ a b "Doha's Islamic Arts Museum :: Qatar Visitor". Retrieved 2009-12-31.
  19. ^ a b Solaiman Abdullah Elkhereiji, Islamic Architecture Past Present & Future. SAK, Jeddah, 2016, p.67. Retrieved 8-21-2017.
  20. ^ "Floor Plans for the Museum of Islamic Art". Retrieved 2022-05-19.
  21. ^ "IM Pei's Museum of Islamic Art in Qatar captured in new photographs". Dezeen. 2017-03-12. Retrieved 2023-03-08.
  22. ^ "Qatar Museums to renovate Museum of Islamic Art". 2021-05-24. Retrieved 2022-11-04.
  23. ^ Ibrahim, Menatalla (2021-05-25). "Museum of Islamic Art plans 'unique' renovation to expand collections". Doha News. Retrieved 2022-11-04.
  24. ^ "QM appoints new director for MIA". Gulf Times. 2017-09-30. Retrieved 2023-02-23.
  25. ^ "MIA to bring 'immersive cultural experience'". 2022-06-02. Retrieved 2022-11-04.
  26. ^ "Revamped MIA to open in Fall 2022: official". Gulf-Times (in Arabic). 2022-06-07. Retrieved 2022-11-04.
  27. ^ "Everything to Know About Qatar's Museum of Islamic Arts Reopening in October". Vogue Arabia. 2022-08-31. Retrieved 2022-11-04.
  28. ^ Belcher, David (2022-08-29). "Museums Find Value in Sharing Jewels' History". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2022-11-04.
  29. ^ Opadijo, Jelili Adekola (2022-08-31). "Museum of Islamic Art to reopen on October 5 following enhancementproject and collection reinstallation". Qatar Tribune. Retrieved 2023-02-23.
  30. ^ "Museum of Islamic Art reopens after major overhaul". 2022-10-05. Retrieved 2022-11-04.
  31. ^ Batycka, Dorian (2022-10-06). "In Pictures: See the Treasures of Middle Eastern History and Culture Inside Qatar's Newly Revamped Museum of Islamic Art". Artnet News. Retrieved 2022-11-04.
  32. ^ Belcher, David (2022-10-14). "In Qatar, a Museum Looks Back at the Breadth of Islam". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2022-11-04.
  33. ^ "Doha's Best Museums and Art Galleries". GQ. Retrieved 2022-11-04.
  34. ^ "Qatar ramps up cultural programme ahead of Fifa World Cup with museum previews and extensive exhibition programme". The Art Newspaper - International art news and events. 2022-07-14. Retrieved 2022-12-07.
  35. ^ "About the Museum of Islamic Art". Retrieved 2022-05-20.
  36. ^ "Museum of Islamic Art organises online session on astrolabes". 2021-05-05. Retrieved 2021-11-23.
  37. ^ "Cornucopia Magazine". Retrieved 2023-02-23.
  38. ^ Ouroussoff, Nicolai (2008-11-24). "In Qatar, an I. M. Pei Museum of Imposing Simplicity -". Retrieved 2009-12-31.
  39. ^ A Variant Quran: fragment MS.474.2003 Paperback by Daniel Alan Brubaker
  40. ^ "Folio belonging to 9th Century Blue Qur'an showcased at the Museum of Islamic Art". 2023-08-09. Retrieved 2023-09-29.
  41. ^ "Brooklyn Museum". Retrieved 2023-09-29.
  42. ^ "Showcasing the art and crafts of Afghanistan". 2013-03-19. Retrieved 2022-04-25.
  43. ^ "MIA showcases rare swords from collection". 2013-05-15. Retrieved 2022-04-25.
  44. ^ "MIA show provides a unique vision of Haj". Gulf-Times (in Arabic). 2013-10-09. Retrieved 2022-04-25.
  45. ^ "Radiant". Retrieved 2022-04-25.
  46. ^ "Museum to open 'Kings & Pawns' expo on March 19". 2014-03-03. Retrieved 2022-04-25.
  47. ^ "Al Andalus ceramics at MIA exhibition". 2014-04-30. Retrieved 2022-04-20.
  48. ^ "Tipu Sultan". Retrieved 2022-04-13.
  49. ^ "Building our Collection". Retrieved 2022-04-13.
  50. ^ "Marvellous Creatures". Retrieved 2022-04-11.
  51. ^ "The Hunt". Retrieved 2022-04-11.
  52. ^ "Qajar Women exhibition at the Museum of Islamic Art, Doha, Qatar". Retrieved 2022-04-08.
  53. ^ "Muhammad Ali exhibition to go up at MIA for Eid". Doha News | Qatar. 2016-06-30. Retrieved 2022-04-25.
  54. ^ "Imperial Threads". Retrieved 2022-04-08.
  55. ^ "Powder And Damask: Islamic Arms And Armour From The Collection Of Fadel Al-mansoori". Retrieved 2022-04-04.
  56. ^ "Syria Matters". Retrieved 2022-04-04.
  57. ^ "Set in Stone: Gems and Jewels from Royal Indian Courts". Retrieved 2022-03-31.
  58. ^ "A FALCON'S EYE". Retrieved 2022-03-31.
  59. ^ "ArtAsiaPacific: Weekly News Roundup: September 9, 2022". Retrieved 2022-10-04.
  60. ^ "Qatar Museums partners with New York City art museum". Retrieved 2022-10-04.
  61. ^ "MIA, Ministry of Foreign Affairs to host "Safar" exhibition from Oct 6". 2022-09-25. Retrieved 2022-11-18.
  62. ^ "MIA, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Present Safar Exhibition Starting October 6". Retrieved 2022-11-18.
  63. ^ "Raku Kichizaemon XV·Jikinyū: A Living Tradition of Japanese Pottery". Marhaba Qatar. Retrieved 2022-11-18.
  64. ^ "Raku Kichizaemon XV·Jikinyū: A... | Exhibitions | MutualArt". Retrieved 2022-11-18.
  65. ^ "Iconic Artist Yayoi Kusama's Works Make Their Regional Debut in Doha, Qatar". Vogue Arabia. 2022-11-25. Retrieved 2022-11-25.
  66. ^ "Qatar Museums opens exhibition of renowned Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama". 2022-11-22. Retrieved 2023-03-16.
  67. ^ "Museums back to regular hours". 2022-12-24. Retrieved 2023-01-27.
  68. ^ "'Mosques in Qatar: Then and Now' explores architectural evolution". 2023-06-24. Retrieved 2023-08-01.
  69. ^ "Qatar Museums to present collection of rare luxury textiles". 2023-08-30. Retrieved 2023-09-29.

External links[edit]