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Conserving Heritage

THE ART OF CONSERVATION

When the National Museum of Qatar opens its doors to the public on the 28 March, visitors will discover the results of painstaking behind-the-scenes efforts by local and international specialists to conserve and restore important objects and artefacts that embody Qatar’s unique heritage.

Visitors will encounter an impressive array of archaeological and heritage objects, manuscripts, documents, photographs, jewellery and costume that illustrate Qatar’s past, present and future. Contextualised within 11 immersive galleries, the nation’s sweeping story is told in three distinct chapters — Beginnings, Life in Qatar, and Building the Nation.

"We have worked with teams of experts from Qatar and around the world to restore, protect and preserve each of the objects at the National Museum that help tell the overarching story of Qatar, its people and our place in the world."

Dr. Haya Al Thani, Director of Curatorial Affairs

CONSERVING ARTIFACTS

A team of local and international experts have worked intensively over many months to preserve and prepare historically significant objects for display at the National Museum, combining a deep knowledge and understanding of Qatari traditions alongside expertise in the latest conservation techniques.

As a result visitors will see first-hand how science and culture come together to ensure these rare artefacts can be shared with and enjoyed by future generations.

PRIVATE COLLECTION CARE

Good practice in storing and handling collections can prevent damage and extend their life span. These guidelines are commonly used in Museums. They are modified to suit the local climate in Qatar and to be practical for home users. To know more, download the Private collection care

 

PRESERVING A PALACE

 

The Palace of Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim bin Mohamed Al-Thani — the largest artefact on show at the National Museum — has received extensive restoration and protection. Built near the shoreline and susceptible to cracking, this historic landmark has been restored and refurbished several times since its construction in 1906. Now with new concrete piles supporting the structure and the water table removed, further damage can be avoided.

To unearth the intricacy of its original design, a team of experts had to peel back the layers of old restoration and apply sustainable building solutions using natural materials. This complex conservation project and its team of specialists have successfully safeguarded the building and reinstated the Palace’s decorative splendour.

PRESERVING HERITAGE ONE OBJECT AT A TIME

Three radically different objects, each dating from the 19th century, have required very different approaches to conservation before going on display to the public.

Al Zubarah Quran — the oldest Quran created in Qatar — was written in the ancient city of Al Zubarah. Following a two-year restoration process, an even older Quran was discovered to have been used to construct its cover. By creating “windows” on this casing it will be possible to see the craftsmanship of the older Quran.

In contrast, a rare wooden pearl merchant’s chest – also found at Al Zubarah — was so fragile it could only be moved with the support of the surrounding soil, which was later painstaking removed in the conservation laboratory.

Finally, the dazzling Pearl Carpet of Baroda, encrusted with over 1.5 million Arabian Gulf pearls, rubies, emeralds, sapphires and diamonds took a team many hours to meticulously restore its beauty.

See all these artefacts on display at the National Museum of Qatar.