National Museum of Qatar
The National Museum of Qatar is dedicated to bringing to life the unique story of Qatar and its people. It actively gives voice to the nation’s rich heritage and culture and demonstrates their 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.
The complex form of the desert rose, found in Qatar’s arid desert regions, inspired the striking design of the new museum building, conceived by French architect Jean Nouvel.
The new building embraces Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al-Thani’s original palace—his family home and seat of the government for 25 years. This nationally significant building has been carefully restored and conserved, so that it can be enjoyed by visitors and future generations to come.
The story of Qatar unfolds across 11 striking galleries, all employing innovative approaches to storytelling. Each gallery provides a unique perspective across time and connects visitors to lives lived between land and sea. All the senses will be triggered through a creative combination of sounds including music and oral histories, visually through film and archival images and even by smell through evocative aromas.
The Palace of Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim bin Mohamed Al-Thani — the largest artifact on show at the National Museum — has received extensive restoration and protection. Built near the shoreline and susceptible to cracking, this historic landmark has been restored and refurbished several times since its construction in 1906. Now with new concrete piles supporting the structure and the water table removed, further damage can be avoided.
The Museum of Islamic Art
While the National Museum of Qatar tells a nation’s personal story, The Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) represents Islamic art from three continents over 1,400 years. MIA is stunning representation of Qatar Museums which, under the leadership of its Chairperson H.E. Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, is transforming the State of Qatar into a cultural capital of the Middle East.
MIA houses a collection of artistic objects gathered from around the Islamic world with a mission to serve the cultural, artistic and social needs of our visitors. MIA is not a religious institution however it does have prayer rooms and ablution facilities inside the museum building for all Muslim visitors.
The Museum of Islamic Art’s vision statement aspires for MIA to be recognized as the center of knowledge, dialogue and inspiration that illuminates the art of Islamic civilizations, opening minds and shaping the future.
The museum building has rapidly become an iconic feature of the Doha landscape. Standing alone on reclaimed land, the building draws much influence from ancient Islamic architecture, notably the Ibn Tulun Mosque in Cairo.
Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect I.M. Pei, the Museum is comprised of a main building with an adjacent education wing connected by a large central courtyard. The main building rises five-stories, topped by a high domed atrium within a central tower.
The cream-colored limestone captures the changes in light and shade during the day.
The interior is no less spectacular. The center piece of the atrium is a curved double staircase leading up to the first floor. Above it floats an ornate circular metal chandelier echoing the curve of the staircase.
An oculus, at the top of the atrium, captures and reflects patterned light within the faceted dome. The five-story 45-meter tall window on the north side gives spectacular panoramic views across the bay.
The geometric patterns of the Islamic world adorn the spaces, including the ceilings of the elevators. A variety of textures and materials from wood and stone has created a unique environment for the museum’s stunning collections.
Qatar is recognized globally for carefully planning and developing for the future. It’s no small irony that they also have set the standard for celebrating the rich history of not only their own unique history, but that of the entire Islamic world.
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