Qatar National Museum

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Qatar National Museum
Established 1975
Location Doha, Qatar
Type Art Museum
Owner Qatar Museums

The Qatar National Museum is a museum in the Qatari capital of Doha. It is due to be replaced by the National Museum of Qatar, which is being constructed on the same site, by 2016.[1]

History and design[edit]

Upon Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani's accession to the throne in 1972, he drew up plans for a national museum in order to document the country's heritage and traditions. That year, he contracted Michael Rice & Company to design the structural and functional aspects of the museum. It was decided that the building would enclose Fariq Al Salatah Palace, a dilapidated early-20th century palace previously occupied by Qatar's former emir, Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani.[2] A lagoon was also created to provide a venue for showcasing traditional dhows and pearling equipment.[3]

The museum was inaugurated on 23 June, 1975.[4] Originally, its facilities included a 100-seat auditorium and a library.[3] In 1980, the Museum was awarded the Aga Khan Award for Architecture.[5] The royal palace which the museum was built around was refurbished in 2015 in preparation for the opening of the new museum.[6]


Since its inauguration, the museum has contained materials related which signify Qatar's cultural heritage, such as Bedouin ethnographic materials, maritime artifacts and environmental items. Ancient artifacts, most of which are locally derived, are also housed in the museum.[1]

Archaeological artifacts[edit]

British archaeologist Beatrice de Cardi and her team were commissioned to undertake expeditions in Qatar from November 1973 to January 1974 in order to collect artifacts to display in the museum. Their most significant discoveries were at the site of Al Da'asa, which contained numerous Ubaid potsherds dating to the Neolithic period.[7] Artifacts from the earlier Danish expeditions launched throughout the 1950s and 1960s were also put on display.[1]

The museum's antiquities department had an active role in surveys and excavations after De Cardi's expedition ended. They excavated the archaeological sites of Al Wusail and Zubarah.[8]

Ethnographic materials[edit]

Materials documenting Bedouin ethnography range widely in theme. Certain objects on display were historically used as tools and weapons by the Bedouin, whereas others are products such as jewellery, pottery and costumes. Traditional poems are featured in the museum; most notable are works composed by Qatari ibn al-Fuja'a and former emir Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani.[3]

In 2015, Sheikh Mubarak bin Saif Al Thani presented the first written draft of the anthem to the Qatar National Museum to be put on display. It was originally scheduled to be moved to the new museum upon its completion.[9]


  1. ^ a b c Karen Exell & Trinidad Rico (2013). "‘There is no heritage in Qatar’: Orientalism, colonialism and other problematic histories". World Archaeology. 45 (4). doi:10.1080/00438243.2013.852069. Retrieved 18 December 2015. 
  2. ^ "Wherefore Art Thou Qatar?". The Business Year. 2014. Retrieved 25 February 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c Rice, Michael (1977). "National museum of Doha, Qatar" (PDF). Museum. XXIX (2/3): 78–87. Retrieved 18 December 2015. 
  4. ^ Mohammed Hassan Al-Kuwari, Maryam Khulaifi, Jamila Abdulla Ahmed & Sawsan Al-Haddad (2013). "دليـل المؤسسات الثقافية في قطر (Directory of Cultural Institutions in Qatar)" (PDF) (in Arabic). Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage. p. 12. 
  5. ^ "National Museum". Aga Khan Development Network. Retrieved 18 December 2015. 
  6. ^ Lesley Walker (21 June 2015). "Sheikh Abdullah’s palace at heart of National Museum of Qatar restored". Doha News. Retrieved 18 December 2015. 
  7. ^ M. Abdul Nayeem (1998), p. 36
  8. ^ M. Abdul Nayeem (1998), p. 39
  9. ^ "Poet’s donation shines spotlight on origins of Qatar’s national anthem". Doha News. 28 November 2015. Retrieved 22 February 2016. 


  • Abdul Nayeem, Muhammad (1998). Qatar Prehistory and Protohistory from the Most Ancient Times (Ca. 1,000,000 to End of B.C. Era). Hyderabad Publishers. ISBN 9788185492049. 

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