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Four ‘must visit’ museums in Doha, Qatar

An interesting mix of the contemporary and the conventional, Doha, the capital of Qatar is a city that dons many hats.  With a spectacular skyline that houses some of the most swashbuckling buildings, Doha is as much a city of modern skyscrapers as it is of traditional souqs.   With plenty to see and do, Doha offers several unique experiences.

One of the best ways to explore the city is by visiting some of its famous museums that span art, history, heritage and culture and serve as a perfect way of showcasing the eclectic city.  Here is a list of some fascinating, ‘must see’ museums in Doha.

Museum of Islamic Art

Museum of Islamic Art, Doha
Museum of Islamic Art, Doha

Located in the heart of the city, along Qatar’s water-facing promenade aka Corniche, the Museum of Islamic Art has been designed by renowned architect I. M. Pei. The five storied building which is a symbol of brilliant architecture, is situated on an artificial island and has been built in Islamic architecture style.  The collections in the museum are spread across 1400 years and include ceramics, glassware, metalwork, textiles and manuscripts.

An exhibit at Museum of Islamic Art, Doha
An exhibit at Museum of Islamic Art, Doha

The items originate from as many as three continents and include countries like Syria, India, Spain, Eygpt and Turkey.  With informative trivia against each of the items, a tour of the museum is indeed a valuable lesson in history, art and culture.

Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art

Entrance of Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art
Entrance of Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art

An ode to the cause of contemporary art, the museum of modern art has been set up with the objective of providing Arab artists a platform to showcase their work. With diverse individual styles and schools of art on display, the museum has close to 9000 masterpeices on display.

An exhibit in Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art
An exhibit in Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art

This includes both temporary and permanent collections from the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Europe and of eminent artists like Shakir Hassan Al Said, Mohammed Melehi, and Néjib Belkhodja. There are multiple art installations in the museum as well.

Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum

One of the most exhaustive museums in Doha, the  Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani or the FBQ museum as it is also called is a privately owned collection.   Spanning right from the Jurassic age, the collections includes fossils, jewellery, antiques, vehicles and several other objects.

Vintage vehicles at FBQ museum
Vintage vehicles at FBQ museum

The collections are divided into four main categories, viz Islamic Art, Qatar Heritage, Vehicles, and Coins & Currency. Apart from this, the highlight of the museum is a massive collection of vintage cars as well as carpets.

Carpets at FBQ museum
Carpets at FBQ museum

Msheireb Museum
A unique concept, this museum is housed in four heritage houses, the Bin Jelmood House, Company House, Mohammed Bin Jassim House and Radwani House. While the Bin Jelmood House is dedicated to the cause of abolition of slavery, the Company house traces the evolution of the country from the pre-oil days to the subsequent discovery of oil in Dhukhan and the ensuing modernisation.

A vintage truck: Company House, Msheireb Museum
A vintage truck: Company House, Msheireb Museum

The Mohammed bin Jassim House is akin to taking a step back in time and tracing the architectural heritage of Qatar. One can also take a look at the journey of the Msheireb district and its transformation over time‭. The Radwani house is an interesting take on the typical Qatari household that existed in the past and how social, cultural and family values have evolved and changed to suit the modern era. The house offers several interesting perspectives into the life and times of the past.

Radwani House:Msheireb Museum
A typical Qatari house: Radwani House, Msheireb Museum

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