Under Qatar Museums (QM), the government entity that oversees National Museum of Qatar (NMoQ), Museum of Islamic Arts (MIA), Al Riwaq, Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Qatar has become an important hub of art, culture and history not only in the region but is also being recognised all over the world for promoting the Islamic civilisation.
With various museums opening across the country, Qatar is slowly becoming the world’s capital for art and culture.
National Museum of Qatar (NMoQ)
Designed by world-renowned French architect Jean Nouvel, the new 40,000 sq m NMoQ building is forged using an interlocking disc design inspired by the desert rose. The museum is one of most significant cultural projects and has become one of the country’s most recognisable landmarks. The NMoQ tells the story of Qatar and its people from more than 700 million years ago to the present day.
Serving as a monument to a historic way of life in Qatar, the museum officially opened in March 2019. Seemingly growing organically out of the ground, NMoQ’s structure surrounds the Old Palace of Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani – his family home and seat of the government for 25 years. The museum is organised into three ‘chapters’ – Beginnings, Life in Qatar, and Building the Nation – presented in 11 galleries. The visitor’s chronological journey, which extends through more than 2.7 km of experiences, starts in the geological period long before the peninsula was inhabited by humans, and continues to the present day. Oral histories, archival images, artworks, music and storytelling contextualise the impressive array of archaeological and heritage objects as well as manuscripts, documents, photographs, jewellery and costumes.
Opening hours: Saturday – Thursday 9 am – 7 pm; Friday 1:30 pm – 7 pm
Admission: Free admission for Qatar residents (with Qatar ID), and children at the age of 16 and below; QAR50 for non-residents; QAR25 for students (with student IDs)
4452 5555, qm.org.qa
Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) and Al Riwaq
Designed by noted architect I M Pei, the museum building rises from the sea at the end of Doha’s Corniche. Inspired by classic Islamic architecture, the building further glorifies the pieces contained within it. The MIA is the flagship project of Qatar Museums (QM), and represents the full scope of Islamic art, with a collection which includes manuscripts, ceramics, metal, glass, ivory, textiles, wood and precious stones. Collected from three continents – Europe, Asia and Africa – the museum’s artworks date from the 7th through to the 20th century. The pieces represent the diversity of the Islamic world, and are of the highest quality. The MIA holds a regular series of workshops and gives monthly lectures – see the Events Calendar in this section and marhaba.qa for more details.
Adjacent to the MIA is the QM Gallery – Al Riwaq, a spacious, contemporary venue, covering a total area of 5,000 sq m, featuring temporary exhibitions by QM with a rotating schedule of exhibits of art and cultural artefacts.
Opening hours for MIA and Al Riwaq: Saturday to Thursday 9 am – 7 pm; Friday 1:30 pm – 7 pm. Last admission 30 minutes before closing. Galleries, gift shop and café closes 15 minutes before the museum’s closes.
Admission: Free admission for Qatar residents (with Qatar ID); QAR50 for non-residents. Visitors are asked to dress appropriately.
4452 5555, qm.org.qa
Msheireb Museums celebrate the history of four historic heritage houses in the heart of Msheireb Downtown Doha. Located within the oldest part of the capital, they form an important part of Qatar’s national history. They reveal unique aspects of Qatar’s cultural and social development in inspiring to create trusted environments in which the people of Qatar can engage, converse and exchange thoughts about both their past and their future.
Msheireb Museums are an integral aspect of the inner city’s regeneration of the old commercial centre with its traditional community-based lifestyle. The restoration of Bin Jelmood House, Company House, Mohammed Bin Jassim House and Radwani House, into world-class museums forms a vital part of the Msheireb Downtown Doha development. Msheireb Museums is open for guided tours by appointment.
Opening hours: Monday to Thursday 9 am – 5 pm, Friday 3 pm – 9 pm, Saturday 9 am – 9 pm, closed Sunday.
Admission: Free admission for all. Last admission 30 minutes before closing. Guided tour: msheireb.com/en-us/home/msheirebmuseums
4006 5555, msheireb.com
Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art
A member of Qatar Foundation (QF), Mathaf is situated in Education City in a renovated former school building. QF is led by HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, while Mathaf is part of QM, led by HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani. An initial group of works, gathered by HE Sheikh Hassan bin Mohammed bin Ali Al Thani, was transferred to the public institution. Now holding over 9,000 pieces collected over the past 30 years, the collection emphasises artistic trends and sites of production of modern art. Mathaf organises major exhibitions, both historical and experimental, and large-scale education programmes, performing an important role as a centre for dialogue, research, and as a resource for fostering creativity.
Opening hours: Saturday to Thursday 9 am – 7 pm; Friday 1:30 pm – 7 pm
Admission: Free admission for Qatar residents (with Qatar ID); QAR50 for non-residents; QAR25 for students (with student IDs). The library and café are open during museum hours.
4402 8855, mathaf.org.qa
Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Al Thani Museum (FBQ Museum)
At his farm near Al Sheehaniya, 20 km west of Doha, Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Al Thani has built his own private museum of more than 15,000 pieces collected from his travels around the world. The museum has a huge and varied collection of artefacts in its different halls including fossils, manuscripts, textiles, weapons, ceramics, woodwork, contemporary art, pre-Islamic coins and foreign currency, as well as a special section devoted to Qatari and Bedouin heritage, including fishing boats and traditional Qatari houses. There are also vintage cars and motorbikes from around the world, with more than 100 models representing every decade of manufacture. The museum also includes Al Samriya Farm, which is home to a herd of more than 1,000 Arabian oryx and gazelles; visitors are able to see a number of peacocks wandering around the wooded areas. The farm includes Al Samriya Riding School, at Al Samariyah Equestrian Academy (ASEA), which is an indoor/outdoor riding arena with horse stables for boarding and riding lessons for children and adults.
Museum: Sunday 9 am – 4 pm; Monday – Thursday 9 am – 4:30 pm; Friday 2 pm – 7 pm; Saturday 10 am – 6 pm
Al Samriya Farm: Monday to Thursday 9 am – 4:30 pm; Friday 2 pm – 7 pm; Saturday 10 am – 6 pm; Sunday 9 am – 4 pm.
Visitors are advised to contact the museum in advance.
Getting there: Exit the Dukhan Road at Al Dehailiyat Interchange. If you are coming from Doha, it is the fourth exit on the roundabout; coming from Al Sheehaniya it is the first exit. There is only a small signpost with ‘Museum’ (on brown background, and ‘Al Dehailiyat’ on blue. The next sign has the full name: Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Al Thani Museum.
Admission: QAR45 for tourists, QAR30 for residents, QAR20 for children
4486 1444 (Al Samriya), fbqmuseum.org