Top 5 Museums in Qatar and Interesting Facts You Probably Didn't Know
Have you been to a museum in Qatar where you can defy gravity? Did you see fossils from the Jurassic period? How about a 10-foot Pearl Carpet of Baroda?
You won't believe your eyes! Qatar has a treasure trove of museums worth visiting. The best part is: Most of them are free to enter and some offer Wi-Fi access at no cost. And, here's the twist: There's one that's changing the game of the typical museum experience!
From the moment you step inside, you’re struck by Qatar’s best-kept treasures. See for yourself the country’s history unfolding in front of you as you explore galleries showcasing world-class art, culture, archaeology, and more.
Travel back in time and experience Qatar life as it was from time immemorial to date. Check out 5 of our best choices below.
Important Notice: Starting May 28, museums and libraries will reopen at a maximum capacity of 30% as part of the Phase 1 of gradual lifting of COVID-19 restrictions in Qatar. Some of the museums’ facilities are temporarily closed due to the precautionary measures in place.
1. MUSEUM OF ILLUSIONS
When you think of museums, do you picture paintings hanging on a wall? Quiet halls full of ancient relics? Perhaps the same display of artifacts come to mind. However, in Qatar, museums exceed the usual exhibition experience, and Museum of Illusions is no exception.
Enter the fascinating world of illusions which will trick you, but amaze you at the same time. It’s like you got catapulted deep down the rabbit hole. Next thing you know, you’re in a different dimension of the world!
This museum has gained immense popularity as it is where learning meets fun, where you can experience the impossible, and know why your eyes see things which your brain cannot understand.
Caution: This unique place will confuse you completely, but also educate you. Most of all, it will turn your world upside down!
What to expect?
• Smart Playroom and Fitness Center for the Brain
• Intriguing visual, sensory and educational experience with new, unexplored illusions
• Amusing and awesome tricks that will teach you about vision, perception, the human brain and science
• 70 dilemma games designed for all age groups
• Playroom with intriguing and educational games and puzzles.
• Whether you’re a child, teenager, millennial, retiree, or part of a larger group, the Museum of Illusions is sure to entertain you.
• Packages are available for corporate or group events.
What can you do?
• Jump in an illusion created by the Vortex Tunnel! It will drive you crazy!
• See yourself on the ceiling of the room
• Let yourself free in an infinity room
• Resist the laws of gravity and size ratio
• Enjoy the holograms, look closer at every optical illusion and observe thoroughly each installation.
• Take pictures of yourself in EVERY POSSIBLE POSE!
Reminder: Be sure your camera is fully charged with memory space before you visit. By all means, take your camera with you!
The Gate Mall, Omar Al Mukhtar St. Doha, Qatar
T. +974 40206273
Sunday to Wednesday (9 am – 10 pm)
Thursday And Saturday (9 am – 10 pm)
Friday (1 pm – 10 pm)
Adult (16+ years): 80 QAR
Child (3-15 years): 60 QAR
Family (2 adults & 2 kids under 15 years): 220 QAR
Special Needs: 40 QAR
VIP package (please contact us for details)
2. MUSEUM OF ISLAMIC ART (MIA)
If eyes are the key to your soul, then museums are the key to the past and the future. The same is true with the Museum of Islamic Art which gives you insights into Qatar's history and beyond like you've never had before.
An iconic monument at the Doha waterfront, the Museum of Islamic Art represents Islamic art from 3 continents over 1,400 years.
Once inside, you will see masterpieces of Islamic art, including metalwork, ceramics, jewellery, woodwork, textiles and glass, collected from the 7th to the 19th century.
Did you know?
• MIA was designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect I.M. Pei
• The 5-storey 45-meters tall window on the north side gives spectacular panoramic views across the bay.
• The museum’s collections are from countries like Spain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, India and Central Asia.
• There is a separate library which is home to over 15000 manuscripts and the texts are rare and have been collected from all around the world.
• Only about 10% of the collection can be seen in the ‘permanent galleries’ on floors 2 and 3. Behind the scenes, MIA cares for a diverse collection of objects from across the Islamic world.
• You can search over 400 objects from the MIA Online Collection.. Many of these items are on display in the museum.
Can non-Muslims enter MIA?
Yes. MIA houses a collection of artistic objects gathered from around the Islamic world. It is not a religious institution. However, it has prayer rooms and ablution facilities inside the museum building for all Muslim visitors.
What to Expect?
• Gift Shop - for a fabulous range of gifts and souvenirs.
• Free Guided Tours - Every Thursday and Saturday at 2pm. Tours take 40 minutes. in English and Arabic
• Museum Café - an ideal spot to relax, enjoy gourmet food, free wireless internet and amazing views.
• Female Prayer Room - Located at the mezzanine to the left of the atrium.
• Male Prayer Room - On level 1 to the right of museum entrance.
• Cloakroom - all large bags will need to be left at the reception desk when you arrive.
• Free Wifi - Log-in using the MIA Guest network.
• Accessibility - Fully accessible. Visually impaired multi-media guides are available on request.
• ATM - Available in Atrium.
• 200 Seat Auditorium - fully equipped with the latest audiovisual equipment, on level 1 to the left of the main atrium.
To know more about MIA’s ongoing exhibitions, events, and activities in MIA, click here.
• Last admission: 30 minutes before closing. Galleries, Gift Shop and Café close 15 minutes before closing.
• Hours and admissions: Saturday to Thursday: 9am – 7pm, Friday: 1.30pm – 7pm (But, now closed until further notice)
• MIA Park: Access to MIA Park will remain open to the public for individual sport activity in accordance with the latest Government guidelines.
• Library: Closed until further notice
• Restaurant: Closed until further notice
3. SHEIKH FAISAL BIN QASSIM AL THANI MUSEUM
A prominent landmark in Al Shahaniya, this museum is home to a private collection of Sheikh Faisal, who was one of the most influential leaders in Qatar.
The museum stretches to a privately-owned 530,000 m² are. There are 3 buildings preserving the collection of the Royalty since 1998.
Did you know?
• It has a whopping 15000 artifacts which have been collected by Sheikh Faisal himself over a span of 50 years.
• Here you can find fossils that date back to the Jurassic period to some of the finest vintage cars collection.
• You can also see prehistoric figurines, rare coins and manuscripts.
What to expect?
Discover different “museums in a museum” as Sheikh Faisal museum houses different sections for its collections including:
• FBQ Museum - Large collection of pre-historic elements from the Jurassic age to the period of early Islam where you can find art masterpieces, heritage, coins, vehicles, currency and more.
• Al Shahaniya Museum - An educational institute, a center for scholars and a tourist destination.
• Carpet Museum (not yet open for public) - With more than 700 carpets (mostly hand-woven). Discover the diverse patterns, the thread work and all those dyes picked from the world for centuries .
• Car Museum (soon to open) - Having over 60 hundred cars collection, you can find all those fancy and vintage vehicles in working condition, from the trucks to convertibles, steam cars, limousines and more.
Sunday: 9:00 am to 4:00 pm
Monday to Thursday: 9:00 am to 4:30 pm
Friday: 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Saturday: 10:00 am to 6:00 pm
Tickets can be purchased at the museum's entrance.
|Admission||With Tour Guide||Without Tour Guide|
|Adult w/ RP||QAR 50||QAR 75|
|Students w/ RP (Ages 6-17)||QAR 25||QAR 50|
|Group w/ RP ( 15 & More )||QAR 35||QAR 45|
|Adult Tourist||QAR 75||QAR 100|
|Student Tourist (Ages 6-17)||QAR 50||QAR 75|
|Tourist Group ( 15 & More )||QAR 60||QAR 75|
For group booking rates, click here.
Tel: +974 4486 1444
Address: Al Samriya, 22km west of Doha (near Mall Of Qatar)
4. MATHAF: ARAB MUSEUM OF MODERN ART
What better way to learn about Qatar’s culture than a visit to Mathaf museum. There is nothing quite as awe inspiring as to stroll through its galleries.
Another gem just on the outskirts of Doha, was founded in 2010 and is located at a refurbished school building,in Education City in Qatar Foundation (QF).
So, if you are an art lover who wants to explore the works of the famous pioneer Yousef Ahmad, head to this museum for more great finds.
Did you know?
• Mathaf Collection is now holding over 9,000 art along with a separate floor for themed arts for visitors, making it the world’s largest specialised collection of its kind.
• Its modern Arab art collection are from some of the renowned artists from countries like India, Iraq, Egypt, and Turkey.
• Mathaf hosts solo and group exhibitions by artists from the region, and events that explore and celebrate modern and contemporary art.
• It runs free shuttle services for its visitors from the Museum of Islamic Art.
What to expect?
• Mathaf Collection - World-class collection of modern and contemporary art from the Arab world
• Mathaf Library - A research library devoted to modern and contemporary Arab art
• Mahal Gift Shop - The museum shop has something for everyone, with unique products including exhibition catalogues, modern art books, regional magazines and personal, unique, and one-off designs as gifts or just for yourself.
To know more about Mathaf’s ongoing exhibitions, events, and activities in MIA, click here.
• Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art is closed until further notice.
• Mathaf Library - Sunday to Thursday: 9am - 2:30pm (But, now closed until further notice)
• Public programmes, group tours and special events - Remain temporarily cancelled
• The Museum’s Gift Shop - Open during the museum opening hours, from Sunday-Thursday, between 9am and 3pm. (But, now closed until further notice)
Visitors must book tickets in advance via the QM website. For any guided tours at Mathaf, you can send your request to the following email:?email@example.com.
5. NATIONAL MUSEUM OF QATAR (NMOQ)
Nested in Doha Corniche waterfront promenade, NMoQ will be the first monument you can see once you arrive from the airport.
The complete tour in this museum takes about 2 hours and ends in the discovery of the old Royal Palace.
The museum became an instant hit after it held a star-studded opening ceremony that was attended by celebrities like Victoria Beckham, Johnny Depp, Jose Mourinho, Naomi Campbell and Luke Evans in March 2019.
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Did you know?
• The interlocking disc design of NMoQ was inspired by The Desert Rose, with petals that act as walls within the internal structure.
• It was designed by the award-winning French architect and Pritzker prize winner, Jean Nouvel
• It is built around Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani's original palace (his family home and seat of the government for 25 years hat has been restored).
• It has a free-form space and does not have doors – offering visitors a fluid experience as they explore Qatar’s history
• The interiors are constructed from 40,000 wooden pieces,which form a three-dimensional puzzle.
• It has 114 individual fountains forming Arabic calligraphy called ‘ALFA’ within the lagoon
• It has close to 3,000 m² of projection surfaces for screening films with up to 8,000 video projectors which feature videos of Qatari nationals depicting life in the country, including pearl divers, women weaving and the process of traditional coffee-making.
• Here you can find the 3-meter (10-foot) Pearl Carpet of Baroda, a stunning masterpiece which has been hand-embroidered with a staggering 1.5 million pearls, sapphires, and diamonds.
What to expect?
• Exhibits - spread over 11 galleries and across 1.5km of walkways with 3 chapters: Beginnings, Life in Qatar, and The Modern History of Qatar
• The Dahl Al Misfir (Cave of Light)
• Caravanserai courtyard
• Desert rose gallery (85 seats, located at the midpoint of the museum at carnavansari level
• 12 museum galleries with 2 additional galleries for temporary collections
• Auditorium with 220 seats in a 300 sqm area for special events like music, movie viewing, lectures, and story reading
• 2 cafés, 1 restaurant, 2 gift shops, and 2 outdoor coffee shops
• 112,000-square-metre public park, a 900-metre-long artificial lagoon, and gardens with paths and walkways
• Outdoor children’s play areas: The Cave of Wonders, Adventure Ship Playground, Oil Refinery Playground
• Heritage research center, a research library for students and scholars
• 2 Restoration/conversation laboratories for collection processing and storage
• Facilities for school groups and special guests
• Separate facilities for school groups and VIPs
• Administrative offices for approximately 150 staff
Ticket Rates and Terms
- You must pre-book your ticket online.
- Your ticket is only valid for a single entry on the date of purchase.
- All admissions tickets are valid for entry on the date of admission only. Tickets cannot be refunded or exchanged.
General admission tickets will be free of charge for Qataris and Residents of Qatar, on presentation of Qatar ID.
|University Student (with valid ID)||QAR 25|
|Child (age 16 and under)||FREE|
|CP Plus and CP Family||FREE|
|Resident of Qatar (With QID)||FREE|
Book your tickets here: https://visit.qm.org.qa/
• NMoQ Galleries and Shops: Saturday – Thursday: 9am -7pm, Friday: 1.30pm - 7pm (But, now closed until further notice)
• Desert Rose Café (Ground floor) - currently closed until further notice
• Jiwan Restaurant (4th floor) - operating for take away and deliveries (Timings: 6 pm to 10 pm)
• Gharissa Ice Cream - currently closed until further notice
• Thalatheen Café - open for takeaway and deliveries (Timings: 4:30 pm to 1 am)
• NMOQ’s Gift Shop and Children’s Shop (1st floor) and are open to visitors
For Your Safety:
- You must present your Ehteraz app with a ‘Green’ health status.
- You must bring your own face mask and wear it at all times during your visit (for all adults and children aged 12 years and over).
- Each person will also be checked for a normal temperature reading at the entrance.
- For photography, no tripods or flash allowed in the galleries.
- No Smoking in the Museum
- Dress conservatively. This means covering shoulders down to knees. Entry may be refused if your clothing is unsuitable.
Virtual Visit: Is It Worth It?
Visiting a museum, often suggests wandering through galleries, examining objects and artworks, listening to audio guides and learning through gallery tours. It is still best to xperience it in person because you can immerse yourself within a time capsule of art, history and stories.
This will sparkle a feeling of wonder as you see the world in ways you never imagined before. But the museum experience doesn’t have to stop there — museums are living institutions built to tell stories of art, objects, culture and people, and these stories transcend the walls of a building.
In these unprecedented times, you may feel constricted and constrained within this strange new reality of life, you find ourselves seeking out comfort in things and activities you know and love.
Now more than ever, you need art and wonder as reminders of beauty in this world. And although you cannot physically walk through the doors of museums right now, Qatar's museums can turn to virtual experiences to break away from yur daily routines and find escape in the world of art and culture.
Locally, three of Qatar's museums created a spotlight on the beauty and reverence of Arab art by offering a unique virtual experience through Google Arts & Culture.
You may have physically seen these collections, but through this platform you can interact with the objects and artworks in a more intimate way. You are able to go into a microscopic level of detail by zooming into the fascinating objects and see things that you couldn’t with the naked eye. Check out the museums' online collection here: The National Museum of Qatar, The Museum of Islamic Art, and Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art.
Why Visit Qatar's Museums?
You may think you know the museums in Qatar, but there's always more to discover. Take advantage of visiting them to see stuff you otherwise couldn’t.
Even if you have been to one of the museums in Qatar before, don't hesitate to go back. Some museums update their exhibits regularly. So, there’s always something to look forward to in museums for you and your family.
If you love contant learning, a museum is a place to go. Museums enable people to explore collections for inspiration, learning and enjoyment. Visit today and observe the magic! But, remember: Social distancing is a must. Stay safe!
Have you been in any of the museums mentioned in this article? If yes, share with us your experiences in the comments!
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