Qatar boasts of many public museums that showcase the cultural vision of the country.
The country is also home to private museums that help preserve Qatar’s heritage for successive generations.
On the occasion of International Museum Day, which falls on May 18 every year, the Qatar News Agency (QNA) shed light on the importance, strength and presence of private museums in the cultural scene. of the country, as well as the experiences and contribution of these museums.
One of the most famous private museums of Islamic art and antiquities in the Middle East, it tells chapters of Qatar’s history, occupies an area of approximately 50,000 m² and includes more than 50,000 rare pieces from four continents.
The Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al-Thani Museum is divided into more than 17 sections, including Heritage, Vehicles, Islamic Art, Fossils, Carpets, Palestinian House, Levant House, and Egyptian House.
HE Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim al-Thani, the museum’s founder and chairman of the board, said in an exclusive interview with QNA that he inherited his fondness and interest in art collection and preservation. of the heritage of his father, Sheikh Qassim bin Faisal, who took him to many museums and archaeological sites in the Arabian Gulf region and other countries, including Egypt, Syria, Turkey and Greece.
He said it contributed to his understanding, knowledge and connection to this world, as well as his awareness of the importance of heritage within civilizations.
HE Sheikh Faisal said he started his journey by collecting fossils, postage stamps, toys and art objects, especially those of famous personalities.
Gradually his interest expanded to include historical pieces from around the world.
HE Cheikh Fayçal was then inspired to make his collection available to lovers of history and heritage.
He said the aim of the museum was to preserve, document and exhibit all pieces of historical and artistic heritage, explaining that it started with a Qatari heritage building in Al Samriya Farm.
HE Sheikh Faisal noted that his interest in collectibles has enriched his thinking, knowledge and understanding of culture.
He said the museum’s coin section – which has about 4,000 coins – includes coins from the Croesus era, from countries hundreds of years old and from those no longer in existence.
In the section of religions, the museum offers visitors the opportunity to learn about these religions, away from the grip of false and misleading information, and helps to spread the culture of acceptance of the other.
HE Sheikh Faisal admitted that this hobby is very expensive and requires a lot of care, noting that the treasures in his museum include things that are no longer available on the world market.
He said that all the objects in the museum were purchased or received as gifts.
HE Sheikh Faisal underlined his concern to personally lead a visit to the museum, given that some rare and precious pieces are only accessible by him.
He also told of his passion for vintage cars.
HE Sheikh Faisal said he had around 1,000, including 500 on a special floor of the JW Marriott hotel in Doha.
He added that his two sons, Mohamed and Khalid, are more passionate about vehicles.
HE Sheikh Faisal has revealed that they are preparing a special room in the museum to display cars of all kinds, in preparation for welcoming visitors to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
He said a theater in the museum, with a capacity of 500 people, will host lectures and events showcasing Qatar’s culture and customs, and a special children’s museum will open soon.
He added that a special section would also open soon depicting mud houses, showing Qatari life in the past and the hardships of life over the past hundred years following major events including wars. global crises, epidemics and the recession of the pearl industry. .
HE Sheikh Faisal also said that in the coming days he will open a special section dealing with the culture of the Islamic and Arab worlds.
He outlined his vision for the museum: to be a legacy for the nation, containing not only treasures from Qatar or the Gulf, but also from Morocco, Algeria, Indonesia and Malaysia, from the time of Andalusia and Asia, especially the Koran, and the rarest of manuscripts.
* The Museum of Abdulla bin Lahdan al-Mohannadi is considered one of the most important monuments in the city of Al Dhakhira.
He said the idea for the museum came about when he witnessed the demolition of the old city of Al Dhakhira.
Al-Mohannadi said that at that time he recalled the history and folklore of the inhabitants of the old city.
He was already a collector of stamps, pictures, coins and antiques, so he thought of reviving this folklore.
At the time the old city of Al Khor and Al Dhakhira was demolished, al-Mohannadi kept his collectibles in a room in his house.
Over time, the number of objects increased until the room could no longer accommodate them, so he thought of creating a museum to preserve them, be a legacy for present and future generations, and serve the researchers and people interested in heritage.
The museum building, designed with respect for Qatari heritage, is made up of different sections.
There is the old gate, and on the south side is the Qatari al-majlis (guest room), and it includes special tables that were used by pearl traders, as well as a set of devices musical items such as radios and old recorders, and instruments such as a lute, fiddle, drums and tambourines, in addition to old telephones, old cassettes and old televisions and old photos.
Adjacent to the majlis is the cafe, which sports various types of old coffeepots, various teapots, bottles, coffee pots, a large tanoor (mud oven), a fire blower and other special tools.
Al-Mohannadi added that in the courtyard of the museum there is an al jleeb (well) and the bucket of water that was present in most Qatari houses, as well as the old outdoor kitchen on the east side, which includes al shola (stove), types of pots and tools used for cooking, trays and al sega (in which they make milk).
In the indoor kitchen are a variety of household items, and there is the fashionable bedroom of the past, depending on the state of the people in the house.
In the bedroom there is the old bed with various items including sheets, towels and pillows, as well as almrash (perfumes like cologne), roshina (wall shelves) and old mirrors with designs brought from India. as various decorative bottles.
There are also decorations, women’s clothing and rare ancient types of abayas such as Umm Sammka of herbalist Aisha al-Ghashali and al-Bakhnaq (traditional festive clothing), almulfaa (abaya worn on the head to cover everything the body) and the batateel (cloth to cover the face), and old accessories.
Additionally, there is the kabet (cabinet) for clothes, which contains colorful tin boxes, sondouq mbayeit (traditional large storage boxes), various old traveling bags and old market guard clothes.
Al-Mohannadi said that the museum includes a hall that recalls the history and past of the city of Al Dhakhira and the most important historical figures, and includes photos of poets, narrators, writers, al-serdal (captains pearl diving vessels), tawaweesh (pearl dealers), al-nawakhatha (ship captains) and al-nahameen (ship singers).
There are diving tools of all kinds, as well as types of pearls that are kept in their little boxes, pearl scales and others.
In addition, there is a room dedicated to old and rare heritage books, magazines and newspapers, as well as old textbooks and schoolbags, which were used by students of that time.
There is a room dedicated to old construction and carpentry materials and tools, and a room dedicated to old children’s games.
Al-Mohannadi said the museum also sports different types of doors, types of stones found in Qatar, the Qatar desert rose (which inspired the design of the National Museum of Qatar), as well as some tools used in ancient peoples. Games.
Al-Mohannadi said he was looking forward to coordinating with the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, inviting them to visit his museum and coordinating with them to inform guests about the heritage of the people of Qatar, especially the Al Dakhira and Al Khor regions.
Writer and researcher Abdulrahman al-Sunaidi, author of the book Private Museums and Libraries in Qatar and owner of the Al Sunaidi Computer History Museum, explained in a special statement to QNA that in his initial research into the world of private museums, he registered nine private museums in Qatar, which he detailed in the first section of the book.
Subsequently, he found more private museums as well as libraries.
Al-Sunaidi hopes to publish an encyclopedia chronicling and documenting the efforts of museum and private library owners in Qatar.
He said the number of private museums in the country shows the extent of awareness within Qatari society of history and heritage in Qatar and around the world.
The writer called for additional efforts to support private museum owners, especially lesser-known ones, through a database and the introduction of their holdings by authorities, such as Qatar Museums, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Qatar. .
About his museum, al-Sunaidi said it started in late 1989, when he was with a group of friends who frequented the commercial market in what is now downtown Msheireb.
The market at that time was a destination for computer and technology enthusiasts and professionals.
With the development of technology and the Internet, al-Sunaidi began to order collectibles from outside the country.
Over time, he has collected over 500 hardware, software and publications, all of which tell and document the history of the computer.
Its collection includes Arabic programs and publications that played a major role in the Arabization of the computer, as well as rare new acquisitions of programs, devices, and magazines documenting the development of the computer.