Window to the World of Art: Must Visit Middle East Museums

The Covid-19 pandemic has forced some of the world’s finest art establishments to shut their doors to art lovers. Although some museums have announced temporary closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic, some Middle East museums are running virtual tours so that people can enjoy art directly from their homes.

Since travelling for leisure seems like a far-fetched dream as of now, we can utilise this time to plan our future vacations. If you are an art lover planning to visit the Middle East, here is a list of some museums you must count in your list –

1. Bait al Zubair, Muscat, Oman

Reflecting the architectural influences from 19th century Oman, the design of this museum is quite appealing. Founded by the Zubair family, the museum is home to ancient weapons, Islamic art, dresses, jewellery and artefacts of Omani history.

2. National Museum of Qatar

Made over an enclosed space of approximately 52,000 m², the unique architecture of the National Museum of Qatar museum designed by French architect Jean Nouvel adds a dramatic touch to the landscape of Doha. With collections of nearly 8000 objects, this Middle East museum exhibits the establishment of the Qatari state, artefacts from Bedouin culture and the discovery of oil too. To celebrate the third anniversary of the Qatar blockade today, the façade of the museum and the arches at the 5/6 Interchange on the Lusail Expressway will be lit with videos and images submitted by the Qataris residents. This is a great opportunity for art lovers.

3. Louvre Abu Dhabi

Designed by the same architect as the National Museum of Qatar, the Louvre Abu Dhabi is a creative amalgamation of the Eastern and Western art. Its web-patterned dome structure has been designed to show sun rays passing via date palm fronds in an oasis.

Recently, the museum has come up with an audio-visual tour — ‘We Are Not Alone’, which will be narrated by Hollywood big shot Willem Dafoe. This podcast shows the museum’s architecture via a futuristic science-fiction story told from the perspective of a post-human civilisation.

4. Dubai Moving Image Museum, Dubai, UAE

Located directly off the Sheikh Zayed Road, the Dubai Moving Image Museum is an excellent show of the progression of visual entertainment from the time when technology wasn’t much advanced to the birth of the modern-day cinema. When you visit this Middle East museum, you can witness pinhole cameras, peep boxes and magic lanterns too.

5. National Museum of Saudi Arabia, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Designed by Canadian architect Raymond Moriyama, the museum reflects the ancient art and antiquities from Arabian culture. Situated in the King Abdulaziz Historical Centre, this museum has a specific gallery dedicated to the life of Prophet Mohammad. A visit to the museum can be a great experience for all those who want to witness the Arabian culture and art.

As stated by the President of International Museum Planning Consultants — Peggy Loar, the Middle East is currently witnessing a series of ‘seismic shifts’ on its cultural stage and shifting away from the traditional cultural centres. He says, “art and artists are gravitating toward countries including Qatar and the United Arab Emirates as a result of the Gulf’s reputation as a center of wealth and a ‘safe haven’ for artists”. Clearly, Middle East’s museums have a lot to offer an artist who wants travel for the love of art.

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