FROM the first sight while exploring this safe country on your way from Hamad International Airport (HIA) to the heart of downtown Doha all the way through the Corniche, you will be enchanted by a giant desert rose.
This fascinating architectural masterpiece, with the beauty of its interlocking curved discs, is the National Museum of Qatar, which is inspired by the country’s history and geological nature. It is a monument to the ancient past of Qatar and the Gulf region.
With the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 under way, the National Museum of Qatar is considered one of the most important destinations and attractions that visitors to Qatar and football fans from all over the world can visit to enjoy the beauty of its historical treasures and explore Qatar’s heritage and past.
The National Museum of Qatar, which was inaugurated by the Amir His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, on March 27 in 2019, presents a unique interactive experience that illustrate the development of life in Qatar, through an architectural masterpiece designed by international architect Jean Nouvel.
The National Museum of Qatar was built around the old palace of Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani (1880-1957), the son of the Founder of the modern State of Qatar. It is an old palace that has been restored, and was previously used as a residence for the ruling family and the seat of the government, and later turned into the old Qatar National Museum.
Architect Nouvel, winner of the Pritzker Prize for Architecture, was inspired by the region’s distinctive natural crystal formations known as the ‘desert rose’, which appears in arid coastal regions and forms through the interaction of wind, sea spray and sand over thousands of years.
The paint of the concrete surface of the museum goes well with the Qatari desert environment, as it takes a colour similar to sand, so that the building appears as if it grew out of the earth.
Curved, interlocking discs that provide natural shadows are one of the design elements that enabled the Museum to win the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design LED Gold Class Certification, and the GSAS Four Star Certification, making it the first national museum in the world to achieve these advanced classifications.
In March 2020, the National Museum of Qatar won two prestigious awards in the sixth edition of the “Leading Cultural Destinations Network” awards known as the “Oscar of Museums” at a ceremony held in the German capital, Berlin. It became the only organization to win two awards out of all the international cultural bodies participating in the event.
The interactive museum, with an amazing design, spread over an area of 40,000 square metres, tells the geological formation of the Qatar Peninsula through natural history and prehistory to our modern era, giving its visitors of different cultures a rich experience to explore its immersive environment and learn about Qatar’s past, present and future.
After crossing the main gate of the museum, the visitor feels that he is in an amazing journey through time that summarises millions of years of intertwined heritage and cultures through 11 galleries that extend over 1.5 kilometers in a winding path that ends in the ancient historic palace of Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani.
Each hall is distinguished by its unique characteristics and integrated environment, as each one tells a chapter of the story of Qatar through a distinctive mixture of different mediums ranging from music, poetry, historical narratives, evocative aromas and artworks designed specifically for display in the museum, in addition to the artistic films that are shown on the walls of the halls.
The galleries also contain an amazing collection of antiques, including the famous Baroda Carpet made of pearls, which was commissioned in 1865, embroidered with more than 1.5 million high-quality Gulf pearls and decorated with emeralds, diamonds and rubies, along with manuscripts, documents, photos, jewels and costumes.
The museum gives a voice to Qatar to introduce its rich heritage and culture, express the aspirations of its people and enhance its cultural vision at the international level. It also represents a center for discovery, creativity and community interaction, and a platform rich with diverse educational opportunities.
Similar to the design of the Museum that was inspired by nature, the design of the gift shop, which was done by the Japanese designer Koichi Takada, comes from Dahl Al-Misfir (Cave of Light) located in the heart of the State of Qatar. This design embodies Takada’s vision of the relationship between people and nature through a beautiful design of honey-coloured curved and interlocking wood pieces. The shop’s interior is made up of 40,000 wooden pieces assembled by hand like “jigsaw puzzles” by Italian carpenter Claudio Devoto and his team of craftsmen.
The gift shop at the National Museum of Qatar offers a wide range of carefully designed exclusive gifts, most of which are inspired by the history, heritage and culture of Qatar.
The National Museum of Qatar pays great attention to people with special needs, as it provides advanced sensory, visual and audio technologies, texts written in Braille, and practical activities that help them learn about the Museum’s contents. It also provides its blind visitors with specialized tours, assistive technology technologies, and audio guide devices.
The museum offers workshops, tours and programs specifically designed for people with learning disabilities. These tours include visits to family exhibitions and exposure to the museum’s wide range of sensory and tactile elements.
The Museum is distinguished by its geographical location, located within a ring of diverse and converging tourist places. For example, it is a short walking distance from the Museum of Islamic Art and the central waterfront promenade on the Doha Corniche, and the large traditional market “Souk Waqif”, the Msheireb district in the heart of Doha, and much more.
It is easy to reach the Museum, especially by using the metro and getting off at the National Museum station within the “Golden Line”, or by private transportation, or by taxis available through the widely used “Karwa”, “Uber” and “Careem” applications. The distance between the museum and Hamad International Airport is about 15 minutes. Football fans and guests of Qatar during the World Cup can enjoy the experience of visiting the Museum before heading to the stadiums to watch their favorite matches. For example, the “Golden Line” metro track connects the very close stations between two World Cup stadiums: Stadium 974 and Khalifa International Stadium.
Metrolink buses transport fans from bus stations to stadiums and drop them off within a few minutes’ walk from the stadiums.Through its website, the National Museum of Qatar offers multiple options for booking tickets. The general admission ticket to the Museum includes entry to its permanent exhibitions, while entry to temporary special exhibitions requires the purchase of separate tickets.
The Museum encourages its visitors to explore the story of Qatar and its people through its diverse and immersive experiences. It opens its doors to the public from Saturday to Thursday from 9:00 to 19:00. On Friday, the Museum opens from 13:30 to 19:00.
Qatar Museums, the entity responsible for supporting and developing museums and the cultural scene in Qatar, also provides, within the “Qatar Creates” initiative, an innovative “One Pass” card to enjoy various benefits and discounts, including free admission to museums during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
One Pass will be valid for use from Oct. 1, 2022, to Dec. 31, 2022, and is available in four packages: Silver at 199 riyals, Gold at 399 riyals, Platinum at 499 riyals, and Diamonds at 1999 riyals.
The One Pass card can be purchased exclusively online at qacreates.com. Through its many initiatives, Qatar Museums seeks to create a cultural movement all year round and a platform for artistic events and activities in the country. It also aims to transform various groups of residents, tourists, fans, and visitors of Qatar to ambassadors who promote the enjoyable experiences they had to friends and family.