While in Doha, plan to visit the National Museum of Qatar to see state-of-the-art displays explaining the past, present and future of this Arab country. At the core of the futuristic building is the large restored historic Palace of Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani, whose father founded modern Qatar. Admire the artistry of the structure from a distance, then step inside to learn about cultural and natural aspects of Qatar.
After 10 years of planning and preparation, the museum opened in 2019. Consisting of the three separate sections of Beginnings, Life in Qatar, and The Modern History of Qatar, the museum has huge display spaces with room for ongoing expansion.
Visit the 11 galleries, where artifacts and high-tech digital displays tell stories that capture the interest of visitors from around the world. Learn about the impact of pearls, oil, fishing and maritime trade on the development of the country. Interactive exhibits make a museum visit here fun for children too.
The museum was designed by French architect Jean Nouvel to complement the sandy landscape beyond the city of Doha. Notice how the many intersecting discs and cantilevered shapes cling together in a unique structure resembling the crystalline pattern of a desert rose, which is not a plant but a rock cluster.
More than 100 unusually shaped fountain jets spray water in every direction in the lagoon in front of the museum, simulating Arabic calligraphy. Step closer to the building to see patterns etched in the sand-colored discs.
The National Museum of Qatar is on the eastern side of Doha right along the port. For a special treat, travel to the museum by sailboat and view the fascinating structure from the water. You can also take a taxi here or drive and park in the shaded parking lot.
The museum is open from mid morning to early evening every day except Friday when it is open only in the afternoon. Buy tickets online to purchase a culture pass providing non-residents free or reduced-price entry. Admission is free for Qatar residents. Allow at least 2 hours for exploration. Visit the café and gift shop before leaving.
Go to the National Museum of Qatar official website for further information about the museum and what's on there while you are in Doha.