Qatar's National Museum
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Information About The National Musuem Of Qatar
Tel: +974 44 291 777
Morning: 9 a.m. 12 p.m.
Afternoon: 4 p.m. 7.a.m
We first visited Qatar's National Museum in October 2006. At the time we noticed empty rooms and the dilapidated state of the abandoned aquarium behind it was only after we found that the museum was under renovation and was officially closed - the guard had been kind enough to let us in anyway. Neither then or on a more recent visit were we charged the five riyal entrance fee.
The Museum is set in a former presidential palace. It's a fort like complex with buildings set in a walled courtyard. Inside the main part of the museum there are a good range of exhibits: stone age flints from prehistoric Qatari settlements, medals and old currency. Natural history rooms showcase Qatar's surprisingly varied animal life, while an old BBC video (which unfortunately cuts short) tells the story of a now dead pearl fishing industry.
Photographs show the startling growth of Doha from not much more than a village, and in another room you can see the rather gruesome process of fire cupping: the Qatar version of medieval bloodletting. There is also a traditional bedouin tent (although we are not sure how authentic the TV is!)
It is a perfectly good museum until you head out the back and it all becomes a trifle bizarre. Behind the palace they have the lagoon a salt water lake. The lagoon and the building besides it are basically abandoned although you can see ambitious plans for the future inside the fort.
On our first visit to the museum we saw shoals of very large fish here. We entered the building, only to find stuffed marine life and skeletons strewn across the floor. When we tried to descend to the basement, we found the floor flooded on our second visit, the flooding had worsened, and we did not even try to enter the building.
At the time of writing (2010) the Museum is still closed.