Why you should visit the National Museum of Qatar (NMoQ)
Updated: Dec 14, 2022
Initially I flew to Qatar to watch USA at the 2022 World Cup. However, I was as surprised as many other tourists by the many attractions in Doha, such as its National Museum of Qatar.
As a first-time visitor to Qatar, this museum was monumental in helping me understand the cultural history of this beautiful country – from its historical archives to its most modern artwork - It was awe-inspiring.
The Museum of Qatar Opening
On March 28, 2019, this new museum was opened on the site of the old building. There even was a glamours premiere with star-studded guests such as Johnny Depp, Victoria Beckham, Naomi Campbell, and more. Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel designed the museum, inspired by the desert rose and grows around the original twentieth-century palace of Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani. The historic palace was restored by Berlin-based architecture and engineering firm ZRS Architekten Ingenieure. This critical monument to Qatar's past is now preserved as the heart of the new national museum of Qatar.
How does this museum rank to other museums around the world?
I think that this museum, compared to others, is the Vatican of the middle east. The museum has encompassed the story of Qatar's history in a new and interactive way. The museum has three overarching chapters—Beginnings, Life in Qatar, and The Modern History of Qatar —divided into eleven sections/ galleries. The permanent exhibitions focus on Qatar's environmental, cultural, and political history from time immemorial to the present.
An artistic series of eight films explicitly produced for NMoQ by the Doha Film Institute creates a great cinematic atmosphere along the museum path. These massive movie projections specially designed and manufactured for the museum's needs map the curving and flowing surfaces of the galleries.
Using this approach, galleries are not silent museum spaces but are full of motion, sound, and color.
In the galleries, visitors can research at their own pace based on layers of interpretation. The museum ends with a visit to the restored old historic palace. Conservation was carried out by Ziegert Roswag Seiler (ZRS), the specialist German architectural restoration firm. The works included considerable underpinning of the historic foundations using a raft of micro-piles and conservation of the historic masonry fabric.
What exhibitions are running in the museum
Two large-scale exhibitions are running until January 2023 that are worth checking out.
First is the exhibition "Your Brain to Me, My Brain to You," which was created by internationally renowned Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist.
According to the guide, this exhibition symbolizes humanity's collective unconscious and the power of the mind.
Visitors can navigate the gallery using 12,000 LED lights strung on cables throughout the installation. From what I understand, the LED lights are supposed to represent neurons constantly firing and communicating with each other. A soundscape and video installation featuring abstract footage of Qatar's landscapes accompany the pulsing resin-encased bulbs.
Throughout the exhibit, visitors are encouraged to turn off their devices and focus on experiencing the journey using all their senses.
The other exhibition is “The Qatar auto museum project”. This exhibition aims to inspire the next generation of innovators, designers, engineers, collectors, and policymakers through a shared passion for cars.
The new Qatar Auto Museum claims to explore the automobile's past, present, and future and its impact on global life and culture. As a vehicle of culture and innovation, the car will represent Qatar's growth, a common thread between a diverse population.
Overall, The National Museum of Qatar is a once-in-a-lifetime experience everyone should enjoy
The museum is very modern and has an intriguing design, which I enjoyed very much. My visit took about 1.5 hours to view the exhibits. I then went to the coffee shop, which was hard to find, it is not signposted, and you must walk across an open area to get to it. The coffee shop was lovely, and a robot served us! We used the gold buggies' lift service to get back to the Metro Station.
Getting to the museum was affordable, which was a relief to me. Using the metro line M3, you can quickly get to the museum at a reasonably low price.
All in all, I can say that the reflection of desert sand crystal architecture is simply spectacular and unique. The contents are incredibly well explained, entertaining, and with the most modern techniques to grab and sustain your attention and your feeling of discovery.
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