National Museum Of Qatar

The National Museum of Qatar is not just a home for extraordinary artworks and items; its architecture itself is a work of art. Designed by Jean Nouvel and opened in 2019, the museum has placed Doha among the world’s top museums.

Spanning 40,000 square meters, the museum presents Qatar’s history from prehistoric times to the present day. This interactive experience not only highlights the rapid development of the emirate but also showcases the richness of its culture and traditions.

To make the most of your visit to this amazing Qatari museum, take the time to understand the philosophy behind the national museum, explore its collections, and discover its numerous highlights.

An architectural masterpiece inspired by nature 

 National Museum Of Qatar

The National Museum Of Qatar was designed by French architect Jean Nouvel, a Pritzker Prize winner and the creative mind behind the Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum. Its bold and futuristic design is inspired by the sand rose, these piles of rock found in the desert, which gave its nickname to this unique architectural structure.

Jean Nouvel’s work is a true technological and artistic tour de force, symbolizing both the spirit of the desert and the dynamism of Qatari modernity. The building is made up of 539 “petals”, formed by 76,000 panels of 3,600 different sizes. The concrete structure is reinforced with high-performance glass fibers.

At the heart of the museum is a restored palace dating from 1906, which was once the residence of Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani. In addition to its exhibitions, the National Museum of Qatar functions as a cultural center, hosting various cultural events in its central courtyard.

Planning Your Trip to the National Museum of Qatar

 National Museum Of Qatar

Located on Doha’s Corniche, the National Museum of Qatar is a must-see during your visit to Doha, whether you’re just stopping over or spending more time there. Here is all the information you need to best prepare for your visit.

What are the opening hours?

The Qatar National Museum is open six days a week from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., except Fridays when it is open between 1:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.

How much is admission?

Entry is free for children under 16 and residents of Qatar and other GCC countries. If this doesn’t concern you, entry will cost you €25 (around 100 QAR). You can also opt for the One Pass , a culture pass launched by Qatar Museums which gives access to several museums and sites in Qatar. 

How many hours to plan?

To make the most of your visit, it is recommended to spend at least 3 or 4 hours at the National Museum of Qatar. The best times to go there are either early in the morning or late afternoon, except Fridays since the museum doesn’t open until 1:30 p.m. 

How to dress inside the museum? 

 Woman In National Museum Of Qatar

Modest attire is recommended when visiting the Qatar National Museum. Opt for clothes that are a little loose, which cover the shoulders and knees. Photography is permitted inside the museum, but tripods, selfie sticks, and the use of flash are prohibited in the galleries.

What to see inside the Qatar National Museum?

The Qatar National Museum allows you to explore the history of Qatar in an interactive and immersive way. The exhibits are structured chronologically, starting with the geological formation of Qatar and ending with contemporary times. It is a true epic that is revealed through these exhibitions, a journey through time that pays homage to the rich and complex Qatari identity.

The National Museum of Qatar plays a vital role in the preservation of Qatari and world heritage. The visit will allow you to better understand the history of the country, but also its culture and its identity. Its 11 permanent galleries, organized into three thematic sections by Qatar Museums President Sheikha Al Mayassa, offer insights into Qatar’s heritage, politics, the oil industry, traditional costumes, and jewelry.

First section: The Origins of Qatar

 National Museum Of Qatar

The museum’s first galleries focus on the origins of Qatar. After passing through the doors of the ancient palace, you can discover the first gallery dedicated to the geological formation of Qatar. It features fossils, rocks, and minerals that tell the story of the country’s evolution over millions of years. There you will find fossils of marine creatures that inhabited the seas when Qatar was still underwater, rocks that tell the story of the rise of the Arabian Peninsula, and minerals that bear witness to the extraordinary geological diversity of Qatar.

The following gallery focuses on the species of animals and plants that inhabit Qatar. From there, a question begins on the place of Man, protector of the land and the sea, leading to the next gallery devoted to the traces left by the first inhabitants of Qatar. Archaeological artifacts trace the history of the first camps to the trading towns of the 19th century.

Second section: life in Qatar

 National Museum Of Qatar

The following galleries look at life in Qatar and how the environment has shaped the identity of the Qatari people. Numerous objects, but also oral stories tell the story of seasonal migrations, the exchange of goods with other nations, and also life in the “al barr”, the desert, which constitutes one of the museum’s galleries.

The sea being a central element of the history and culture of Qatar, it finds its place at the national museum, through two dedicated galleries: “Life on the Coast”, and “Pearls and Celebrations”. There you will notably see an impressive model of the Al Zubarah site, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as well as numerous jewels and other precious objects once offered to celebrate the return of the pearl fishermen.

These galleries also display an exceptional collection of Islamic art objects, including precious manuscripts, ceramics, carpets, and textiles. The highlight of this section is undoubtedly the magnificent 18th-century Quran, which displays influences from Ottoman and Indian calligraphy. This rare piece is a true masterpiece, a priceless treasure that testifies to the importance of art and spirituality in Islamic culture.

Third section: modern Qatar

 Exhibition At National Museum Of Qatar

The final part of the Qatar National Museum is dedicated to its modern history. This section traces the country’s rapid development from the discovery of oil to its entry into the 21st century, becoming one of the richest and most dynamic nations in the world.

The first gallery presents the birth of the nation, from 1500 to 1913. The next gallery highlights the industrial history of the country, with the sudden decline of pearl farming and the discovery of oil. Finally, the tour ends with a gallery dedicated to Qatar today and the vision of the current Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.

Temporary exhibitions

 Exhibition At National Museum Of Qatar
“Your brain is mine, my brain is yours” exhibition

In addition to its permanent collections, the Qatar National Museum also offers a variety of temporary exhibitions that are worth seeing. These exhibitions explore different aspects of Qatar’s culture and history, as well as current themes. They also provide a platform of expression for contemporary artists from Qatar and beyond.

Recent temporary exhibitions include “ A Sneak Pekk at the Qatar Automobile Museum ” (until January 2, 2026), which features a collection of vintage and modern cars by Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani, or the immersive installation and multisensory by Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist, “ Your brain of mine, my brain of yours ” (until April 30, 2024). Soon there will be a new exhibition ” Mal Lawal 4 “, this edition of ” Mal Lawal ”  will highlight the history of gaming, with a specific focus on the 1990s, as seen through the lens of private collectors.

In the past, the museum has also hosted exhibitions by world-renowned artists, such as “The Echo of the Invisible” by French artist JR, which explored the question of memory and forgetting through a series of large format photographs.

Educational programs 

 Exhibitions At National Museum Of Qatar

The Qatar National Museum also offers a diverse range of educational programs for visitors of all ages. There you will find workshops for children, conferences for adults, guided tours, and special events organized throughout the year. Whether you are interested in history, art, science, or culture, you will undoubtedly find something to captivate you.

What else to do at the Qatar National Museum?

Aside from the exceptional collections and stunning architecture of the Qatar National Museum, here are some ideas for making the most of your time there.

Visit a unique souvenir shop

Store At The National Museum Of Qatar
Store at the National Museum of Qatar

During your visit to the National Museum of Qatar, be sure to visit its souvenir shop. It offers a variety of unique items and souvenirs inspired by the museum and Qatari culture. But that’s not all: the unique design of the store is worth a detour in itself, with its architecture inspired by the Dahl Al Misfir, a natural site nicknamed the “cave of light”.

Have fun with the park’s interactive installations

 Exhibition At National Museum Of Qatar

Explore the Heritage Garden

Don’t forget to explore the Heritage Garden: the park of the National Museum of Qatar. This is home to a variety of plants native to Qatar, each with its own story. These plants have adapted to the harsh desert environment, reflecting the resilience of Qatari heritage.

Let kids explore various attractions

Playground At National Museum Of Qatar

For children looking for adventure and exploration, the Cave of Wonders is a must. It is an impressive reconstruction of a “dahl”, a natural sinkhole like those found in Qatar. This attraction offers a realistic experience of an underground rock cave where kids can crawl and climb, discover glowing rocks and strange carvings, find artifacts hidden in the sand, spot bats hanging from the ceiling, and a giant climbing gecko along the wall.

The Nakilat Adventure Ship is another child-friendly attraction, designed as the wreck of a traditional Qatari boat. This venue provides interactive learning opportunities where children can learn about sailing, pearl diving, fishing, and trade through stories, songs, and games, exploring the ship’s cargo and treasure. A fun and immersive way for children to learn Qatari history and culture.

Treat yourself to a break at the café or restaurant

Cafe At National Museum Of Qatar

When leaving the museum, or to take a break from your day of visiting, you can take a break at the Desert Rose Café, located on the ground floor of the museum. This café is run by chef Nouf al Marri, a great specialist in Qatari cuisine. If you prefer a more traditional “majlis” setting, the place where guests are traditionally received, but with a contemporary touch, you will find what you are looking for at Café 875 . 

Finally, for a real gourmet break, go to the Jiwan restaurant, located on the fourth floor. There you can taste delicate dishes inspired by Qatari cuisine, concocted by star chef Alain Ducasse. All with a breathtaking view of the Bay of Doha and the Arabian Gulf. Perfect for taking some memorable photos!