After more than two months since it opened to the public, we finally got our chance to visit the Museum (again). While we were always at the site for some pre-opening shoot and data gathering, the initial opening rush prevented us to even try. Now that Ramadan is over and that the crowd is less(er), then we thought that this might be the best opportunity to pay a visit.
What’s different about NMoQ from other museums in Qatar is that it is solely devoted to the country’s history. Indeed, a visit here will connect you the colorful past, exciting present and amazing future of Qatar. Moreover, going to NMoQ will be a breeze when the METRO GOLD LINE starts to operate, thus our theme of connectivity.
WATCH our related video for Metro Rail: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eyjWuGgElIo
PLANNING A VISIT
First things first, you need to know the location and the timing of the museum before scheduling a visit. The National Museum of Qatar is located on Museum Park Street across from the Corniche near Ras Abboud flyover (click this link for the location). The entrance is in the rear side of the museum and not along the corniche road. If you are coming from Westbay area, turn right immediately after the Orient Pearl Restaurant then turn left at the small roundabout. If you are coming from souq area, go straight from Alfardan Exchange building until you reach the Hamad Bone and Joint Center signal in Old Salata. The museum is right at the end of Al Muthaf Street. They have very limited parking space available on-site so it is advisable to come early.
Sunday to Wednesday from 09:00 to 07:00pm
Thursday from 09:00 to 09:00pm
Friday from 1:30 to 09:00pm
Saturday from 09:00 to 09:00pm
Admissions Fee: QR 50, no ticket required for 0-3 years. Residents of Qatar: FREE upon presentation of valid QID card or Qatari driver’s license.
GOING AROUND THE MUSEUM
This 52000-square meter structure (with approximately 1.5 kilometers of gallery path) built in the shape of a desert rose may prove to be quite a challenge to navigate.
Designed to be both immersive and experiential, visitors can expect to encounter a rich environment to explore. Organised in three “chapters” — Beginnings, Life in Qatar, and The Modern History of Qatar, each theme is presented across 11 highly individual galleries. – Qatar Museums
Each gallery provides a unique perspective across time and connects visitors to lives lived between land and sea. All the senses will be triggered through a creative combination of sounds including music and oral histories, visually through film and archival images and even by smell through evocative aromas, according to NMoQ website.
The Marketing & Public Relations Office of the National Museum of Qatar were gracious enough to provide the members of the media with some interior photos prior to the initial launch events. The following shots including the black and white photo of Sheik Al Thani are provided by NMoQ, all others are shots taken by the writer/blogger.
THE SHEIK’S PALACE: The Heart of NMoQ
In an article from the Peninsula, it was mentioned that “…NMoQ embraces as its centerpiece the restored historic Palace of Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani (1880-1957), son of the founder of modern Qatar. A building that in former times was both the home of the Royal Family and the seat of government, and was subsequently the site of the original National Museum, the historic Palace is now the culminating exhibit in the sweeping succession of gallery experiences.”
The restoration took three years to finish and the historic palace of Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani, the father of modern Qatar, has been restored to represent the heart of Qatari national identity.
SHOPPING AND DINING AT THE MUSEUM
Feeling tired yet inspired after a walk through history? You might want to visit some of the shops inside the museum.
The Gift Shop
The gift shop at the National Museum of Qatar offers a large collection of well-designed, exclusive gifts, many of which draw their inspiration from the history, heritage and culture of Qatar. The shop, operated by IN-Q Enterprises — the commercial arm of Qatar Museums — presents art-inspired pieces and a retail experience that appeals to all. IN-Q collaborates with local artists and designers to develop authentic and original merchandise.
Café 875 is located on the mezzanine floor over the main lobby and offers a chance to experience the unique Majlis, a traditional setting from the Qatari Bedouin nomadic lifestyle and enduring hospitality, as well as a more familiar contemporary café seating.
Desert Rose Café
Located on the ground floor under the large structure and open to both the lagoon (at the Corniche side) and to the Baraha courtyard, the Desert Rose Café is operated by Chef Nouf Al Marri, one of the best chefs in Qatar specialized for Qatari cuisine. The café is an oasis of Desert Rose formations, offering a perfect mid-way rest spot for visitors to break the journey through the galleries.
The VIP Lounge features a sculpture, Central Midkhan, created by young Qatari multidisciplinary artist Aisha Nasser Al-Sowaidi. A midkhan is a Qatari household item, ancient but still used today to hold incense.