Museums are doorways to the past. Once opened they provide glimpses of history and how life began. The National Museum of Qatar (NMoQ) is one such portal through time. The NMoQ, which was formally inaugurated by His Highness the Amir Shiekh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani on March 27, opened its doors to the public the very next day. As soon as visitors tour the galleries, they are treated to a journey of sights and sound, as well as larger-than-life replicas of living and non-living things found in Qatar’s rich and diverse landscape.
The NMoQ is organised in three chapters: ‘Beginnings’, ‘Life in Qatar’, and ‘The Modern History of Qatar’; within these chapters are 11 galleries. While all chapters boast of stunning visuals, visitors are left in awe of the replicas found inside ‘Beginnings’, which features the following galleries: ‘The Formation of Qatar’, ‘Qatar’s National Environment’, and ‘The Archeology of Qatar’.
Some red foxes and gazelle
Crocodile skull, which was discovered in 2005 in Southwest Qatar, belongs to an extinct species.
Replica of the Qataraspis deprofundis, a 400mn year old species of armour-plated fish
A hammerhead shark and other marine life
The skeleton of a dugong or sea cow. Just beneath it are dugong bone fossils that are over 20mn years old
A sand cat and its young
“I haven’t been to other galleries but this is a splendid start for a tour of the early beginnings of life, particularly in Qatar. The museum is a timely and wonderful addition to the modern facilities of the country, and knowing Qatar’s history makes me appreciate this place, which my family and I consider as our second home,” said Carlos, who has been residing here for the past seven years.
An excerpt from an earlier statement from NMoQ aptly describes ‘The Formation of Qatar’ as “… a journey through time, exploring the geological and biological evolution of the Qatar peninsula. The story told in this gallery begins more than 700mn years ago.”
“The gallery offers an interactive exploration of the complex geological processes that created the peninsula. Fossils of plants and animals on display represent seven time periods of Qatar in the distant past.”
A staff at the museum estimated that there are more than 1,000 replicas of mammals, reptiles, and insects, as well as the fossils on display at the ‘Formation of Qatar.’ An Asian expatriate said: “The replicas are very lifelike that at first glance, I thought one of them would jump at me. My children were also happy to see them, especially the fossils; I hope their school would organise a tour one of these days because not only are these replicas a sight to see, but they are also very educational and a fun way for kids to learn about history and Qatar’s deep past.”
Another visitor told 'Gulf Times
' that visiting the NMoQ was a “very special experience,” especially for her son who “dreams of becoming an archeologist someday.” “I am glad there is a place in Qatar that offers children the opportunity to get a firsthand look at prehistoric specimens that people only see in books or in documentaries. We intend to frequent the museum, specifically this gallery because of the strong interest it evoked from my child,” she added.