The new National Museum of Qatar (NMoQ) opened on 28th March along the Doha waterfront. The Museum was designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel who also designed the Louvre Abu Dhabi. The unique disc-like structure of NMoQ was inspired by the “desert rose” crystal formations famously found in the Qatari desert.
In preparation for the opening, NMoQ Director of Curatorial Affairs Dr Haya al-Thani said, “We have worked with teams of experts from Qatar and around the world to restore, protect, and preserve each of the objects at the National Museum that help tell the overarching story of Qatar, its people, and our place in the world.” Preparatory conservation efforts extended to the National Museum’s original home, the Palace of Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim bin Mohamed al-Thani, which was originally built in 1906. This Palace had undergone various refurbishments over the decades and required a team of experts to uncover the original design of the building. The Palace has now been structurally fortified with a focus on sustainable building solutions and materials.
The new Museum aims to explore the history of Qatar beginning 700 million years ago up to the present. Permanent exhibits include the area’s geological history and treasures, taking the visitor through history with cultural heritage from archaeological sites like Al Zurbara and even highlighting Qatar’s role in the pearl trade.
Several new commissions are also included on the NMoQ grounds including the Museum park, with over 100 fountains, and sculptures by Syrian artist Simone Fattal, Qatari artist Sheikh Hassan bin Mohammed bin Ali Al Thani, and Iraqi artist Ahmed Al Bahrani.