About the Museum
The National Museum of Qatar (NMoQ), located across from the Corniche in the Qatari capital, Doha, features an innovative design by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel that is inspired by the desert rose which grew organically around the original 20th century palace of Sheikh Abdullah Bin Jassim Al Thani. The historic Palace was restored by Berlin-based Architecture and Engineering firm Ziegert | Roswag | Seiler Architekten Ingenieure. The 430,000 square foot (40,000 m2) museum is created by a series of interlocking discs that create cavities to protect visitors from the desert heat. Located on a 1.5 million-square-foot site at the south end of Doha’s Corniche, the NMoQ building will rise from the sea and will be connected to the shore by two pedestrian bridges and a vehicular bridge. This important monument to Qatar’s past is now preserved as the heart of the new NMoQ. The relation between the new and old building is part of creating the bridge between the past and the present advocated by Sheikha Al Mayassa for it is the way to "define ourselves instead of forever being defined by others… celebrating our identity."
Galleries throughout the museum will address three major, interrelated themes. The galleries will be loosely arranged in chronological order, beginning with exhibitions on the natural history of the desert and the Persian Gulf, artifacts from Bedouin culture, historical exhibitions on the tribal wars and the establishment of the Qatari state, and finally the discovery of oil to the present. The displays and installations that explore these themes will integrate exciting and involving audiovisual displays with carefully selected treasures from the museum’s collections. Exhibitions will combine historic objects and contemporary influences, opening up a dialogue around the impact of rapid change. These collections currently consist of approximately 8,000 objects and include archaeological artifacts, architectural elements, heritage household and traveling objects, textiles and costumes, jewelry, decorative arts, books and historical documents.
The museum's mission will be to celebrate the culture, heritage and future of Qatar and its people, embodying the pride and traditions of Qataris while offering international visitors a dialogue about rapid change and modernization.
(Photo: National Museum West View from the Doha Bay, Courtesy of Ateliers Jean Nouvel)