Msheireb Museums, the cultural destination at Msheireb Downtown Doha, celebrates its 3rd anniversary, cementing its position as a major cultural and touristic destination in Qatar with an exceptional list of accomplishments achieved since opening in 2015.
On this occasion, Msheireb Museums added a new collection of artifacts to its premises to enrich the museum’s existing collection, which is now on display for guests to visit.
Since its inception Msheireb Museums has made huge progress in terms of attracting visitors, winning awards and gaining recognition, thanks to its distinctive and rich programs of events and activations, and partnerships with prominent institutes and academic organizations. In addition to its touristic role, Msheireb Museums enhanced its position as a leading educational and scientific landmark, acting as a reference for students and professionals on the history of Qatar; exploring its journey to modernism and the present day.
The museums also won many local and international awards from prominent art and culture institutes, adding to the global recognition of the wider cultural and touristic offering of Qatar.
Hafiz Ali, Msheireb Museums’ Director said: “Since launching Msheireb Museums three years ago, we have accomplished great achievements and recorded success on many levels. Today, we mark a new step on the creative and development plan, which is part of the journey to transform the museums into the top leading culture and heritage destination in Qatar, and the region. I would like to thank Her Highness Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser, the Chair of Qatar Foundation, for her wise vision and support in founding Msheireb Museums, which is helping to preserve our heritage and history as a country. Her leadership has played a fundamental role in making this project a success”.
“On this occasion, we would also like to send our thanks and gratitude to our employees and volunteers at Msheireb Museums; without their dedication and hard work such accomplishments would not have been achievable. We also extend our thanks to Msheireb Properties management who renovated the heart of Doha, reviving it with innovation in mind while preserving its heritage houses. We are proud to announce today that a new collection has been added to our houses, and thank those who donated the pieces, to be enjoyed by the people of Qatar and international visitors. These contributions are vital”.
Msheireb Museums is a significant milestone for Msheireb Properties in realising the vision of Msheireb Downtown Doha, Qatar’s first sustainable and smart city regeneration project. The museums celebrate the history of four historic heritage houses in the heart of Doha; Bin Jelmood House (raising awareness of formerly enslaved people), Company House (sharing a history of Qatar’s petroleum industry), Radwani House (providing insights into the Qatari family life over generations), and Mohammed Bin Jassim House (a journey through Msheireb district over time).
Located within the oldest district of the capital, they form an important part of Qatar’s national history. These reconstructed buildings and gallery spaces allow the community to engage with and learn about significant aspects of Qatar’s heritage, culture and traditions prior to the country’s rapid economic development.
Heritage houses with state-of-the-art technology
Since its opening, three years ago, Msheireb Museums has received around eighty thousand visitors from Qatar and the wider region, as well as tourists and students of schools and universities.
Msheireb Museums encompasses four heritage houses that have been renovated and equipped with interactive modern technology, taking visitors on a journey to the past in which they can experience history in an interactive and engaging way. Visitors are given the opportunity to provide feedback and give their opinions through commenting on interactive screens, surveys and social media channels, and the museums management always responds to feedback and takes it into consideration to improve the overall experience.
Along with the galleries, Msheireb Museums includes special departments for scientific and educational courses and training, creating an entity with comprehensive services that assists tourism, entertainment, and education under one roof. In line with its mandate to support youth and culture, Msheireb Museums provides full support to entrepreneurs and volunteers who are willing to organize exhibitions or offer new artistic ideas.
Additionally, Msheireb Museums has built strong connections with academic institutions, regularly collaborating with universities, colleges, and research programmes to ensure better engagement with the museums’ offerings and content. Visitors of the museums also have access to the valuable digital resources of Qatar National Library.
Strong connections with the local community
Msheireb Museums has strong connections with the community; the people of Qatar are major contributors, donating collections to the museums and helping in the process of documenting the country’s history. Since announcing the establishment of Msheireb Museums, the Qatari people have donated their personal belongings and collections inherited from their ancestors, to the museums, to ensure they are well preserved for future generations to enjoy and learn from. Many of the older generation visited the museums to document their memories as part of drive to obtain verbal historical source material, ensuring that these precious, unique and personal experiences will not be lost.
Msheireb Museums launched a program last year, geared towards activating the tourism sector. The ‘Msheireb Museums Friends’ programme is a mutually-beneficial volunteering scheme which aims to train teachers and educational leaders the skills required to become tour guides in the museums, enhancing their ability to lead student tours. The programme also enables students to enhance their leadership skills while introducing the community to the country’s rich culture.
This programme received great attention, with many authorities and organisations taking part, including Qatar Tourism Authority and Qatar Youth Center, in addition to school teachers from national and international schools.
Msheireb Museums has received many awards, acknowledging its role and position since opening in 2015. Bin Jelmood Houserecently wonan award in the category of ‘Green Cultural Building’ atthe 2018 Qatar Sustainability Awards, which was held as part of Qatar Sustainability week 2018.
Internationally, Msheireb Museums was recognized by the International Committee for Education and Cultural Action (CECA), winning the ‘Best Educational Practice Program’ award during the 2018 CECA Conference and Awards event.Its winning project, the Bin Jelmood Educational Programme, introduces the story of Bin Jelmood House, using innovative methods to reach a young target audience in an effective and engaging way.
In 2018, the site was also included on the prestigious Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) list of the world’s best new buildings.
Exhibitions and conference
Msheireb Museums has hosted many exhibitions and conferences that add great value to the cultural scene in Qatar. Last year, Msheireb Museums hosted the ‘Back to Msheireb’ Exhibition in Mohammed Bin Jassim House, which documented Msheireb’s transformation into a centre of commercial activity and an intercultural crossroads for people of diverse origins between the years 1980 and 2009.
Earlier this year,‘We are the daughters of Qatar’ Exhibition aimed to raise awareness on the role of women during the pre-oil era of discovery and reflected on the various social and economic changes made throughout history to enable women’s empowerment.
These exhibitions, organized by UCL Qatar, give students the opportunity to get involved in the educational experience of the museums. They also have the chance to organize their own fully-fledged conferences and exhibitions in the museums.
Msheireb Museums also added a permanent exhibition titled ‘A Journey to the Heart of Life’, located at Bin Jelmood House at Msheireb Museums. The exhibition is a collaboration between Msheireb Museums and biomedical research institutions including Qatar Genome Programme, Qatar Biobank, Sidra Medical Research Center and Weill Cornell Medical College. The exhibition focuses on DNA and includes six sections that give visitors an opportunity to explore genetic inheritance and prehistoric human migrations. It aims to further guests’ understanding of the advances in modern medicine and genomics, and its capacity to help with early detection of disease, as well as creation of personalised medicine.
International Museum Day was celebrated by hosting workshops, presentations and a panel discussion in collaboration with CECA.
These programs act as a vital platform to support various educational initiatives of the museums. They aim to keep the research process on Qatar culture and its history alive and play a major role in motivating the younger generation to improve their understanding of Qatar.