Qatar National Museum
Qatar National Museum in 2004.
History and designEdit
Upon Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani's accession to the throne in 1972, he drew up plans for a national museum in order to document the country's heritage and traditions. That year, he contracted Michael Rice & Company to design the structural and functional aspects of the museum. It was decided that the building would enclose the Old Amiri Palace, a dilapidated early-20th century palace previously occupied by Qatar's former emir, Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani. A lagoon was also created to provide a venue for showcasing traditional dhows and pearling equipment.
The museum was inaugurated on 23 June, 1975. Originally, its facilities included a 100-seat auditorium and a library. In 1980, the Museum was awarded the Aga Khan Award for Architecture. The royal palace which the museum was built around was refurbished in 2015 in preparation for the opening of the new museum.
Since its inauguration, the museum contained materials which signify Qatar's cultural heritage, such as Bedouin ethnographic materials, maritime artifacts and environmental items. Ancient artifacts, most of which are locally derived, are also housed in the museum.
British archaeologist Beatrice de Cardi and her team were commissioned to undertake expeditions in Qatar from November 1973 to January 1974 in order to collect artifacts to display in the museum. Their most significant discoveries were at the site of Al Da'asa, which contained numerous Ubaid potsherds dating to the Neolithic period. Artifacts from the earlier Danish expeditions launched throughout the 1950s and 1960s, previously housed at the Doha Public Library, were also put on display in the museum.
Materials documenting Bedouin ethnography range widely in theme. Certain objects on display were historically used as tools and weapons by the Bedouin, whereas others are products such as jewellery, pottery and costumes. Traditional poems are featured in the museum; most notable are works composed by Qatari ibn al-Fuja'a and former emir Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani.
In 2015, Sheikh Mubarak bin Saif Al Thani presented the first written draft of the anthem to the Qatar National Museum to be put on display. It was originally scheduled to be moved to the new museum upon its completion.
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- M. Abdul Nayeem (1998), p. 39
- "Poet's donation shines spotlight on origins of Qatar's national anthem". Doha News. 28 November 2015. Retrieved 22 February 2016.