Unlike the iconic Museum of Islamic Art, with its prime location on the Corniche, Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art is not somewhere you stumble across. To get to the museum, requires planning, but it’s well worth the extra effort.
Here are five reasons why:
1. Something modern, something new
Echoing Qatar’s ever-evolving move forward towards having a knowledge-based economy, 'Mathaf' makes it a policy of creating fresh, thought-provoking main exhibitions, plus they display a range of ever-changing smaller exhibitions in order to ensure that visitors make regular trips to see what’s going on.
Yes, it’s a museum, but definitely not in the fusty, dusty, old-fashioned sense of the word. It’s got ‘modern’ in its title for a reason.
2. Saturday’s guided tours
‘Mathaf’ goes the extra mile with its tours – in particular the Mathaf Voices Tour, which take place each Saturday at 12 noon and 4pm. The tour leaders are university students on year-long internships and they offer their personal perspectives, in English and Arabic, of the works of art on display.
3. Lots of free events and workshops
No-one can accuse ‘Mathaf’ of not making the extra effort. There are talks by featured artists (a benefit of being modern – you’ll struggle to find a museum’s focusing on 17th Century artists being able to do this…), one-off events and workshops. Plenty to keep the artistically minded visitor entertained.
4. The coffee
OK, not exactly the most ‘artistic’ reason for visiting a museum, but trust us, the coffee in the café next to the museum’s entrance and gift shop is good and cheap. Sit down
5. It’s far from the crowds
Who wants to follow the masses? Life among the masses in ever-growing Doha can sometimes be suffocating. ‘Mathaf’ rarely, if ever, gets crowded. When you get to Mathaf, you feel that you’ve found an oasis of calm.
Situated around the back of Education City, it’s never been the easiest place to find, but this is especially the case at the moment, as you have to navigate roadworks and diversions to get there.