Collections

Objects for all

Qatar Museums proudly holds some of the world’s finest collections. Alongside modern masterpieces, we have treasured pieces of Islamic art, ancient artefacts that convey the history of our region, and public art installations that decorate the landscape in surprising ways.

Our objects are diverse in form, including painting, photography, sculpture, film, textile, jewellery, weaponry, coins, fossils.

We are building a collection that appeals to and intrigues the widest possible audience in Qatar. It embodies our nation’s pride and traditions, and sparks broader discussion around the evolution of modern Islamic identity.

Beyond buildings

Our collection is not confined to display cases in museums. Images of objects from the MIA collection appear in Hamad Hospital and we are a proud Google Art Project partner. This initiative means everyone with computer access, anywhere in the world, can see and share the art world’s most treasured pieces.

In addition, objects are showcased internationally through travelling exhibitions. Through our exquisite pearl collection and unique orientalist pieces, amongst other things, we bring global audiences a slice of Qatari spirit – often as part of our cultural exchange programmes.

By using images from our collection, we can share Qatar’s heritage beyond the museums.
Jean-Paul Engelen, QM Director of Public Art

A vast range

The collection has deep holdings in the following areas:

Islamic art
This is largely held at MIA, the foremost museum of its kind and a centre of education in the field.

Modern Arab Art
From historical paintings to contemporary pieces in a range of techniques, these pieces are housed at Mathaf.

Pearls
We preserve pearls in all manner of forms, from jewellery to fishing implements, from ancient to modern times.

Dhows
The National Museum of Qatar conserves dhows – traditional boats that enabled trade, pearling and fishing in the Gulf.

Photography
One of the nineteenth century’s most significant inventions, we collect early apparatus, specialist cameras, processing equipment, projectors, daguerreotypes, studio furniture, prints and more.

Orientalism
Our orientalist collection traces the development of the movement and includes its finest examples.

We need to go back to the original sources to try to understand our culture
H.E. Sheikha Al Mayassa Al Thani, QM Chairperson

From art to heritage

As an organisation, we value the role of historical objects. Our specialist areas, in relation to heritage collecting, are:

Weapons and armour
We have cavalry and equestrian equipment, shields and protective clothing, blades, swords and spears, demonstrating the progress in the craft.  

Costumes and textiles
This collection is focused on a type of Bedouin weaving called sedu, significant in Qatar. Our collection includes men and women’s dress, decorative pieces in pearl and precious metals, and fine Islamic embroidery. 

Coins
We have over 40,000 Islamic coins from different regions that help reveal their histories, namely the Abbaside, the Fatimide state and Al-Malwiyat currency.

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