In Bahrain, there only is one museum named Bahrain National Museum which amazes all who venture here. This museum is the oldest and largest public museum which is located in Bahrain. This museum collection covers 27,800 sq meters and was opened in 1988 by the Emir of Bahrain Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa, is one of the most famous Bahrain Tourist Attractions and also the first modern museum in the area.
About the Bahrain National Museum
The building of the Bahrain National Museum planned and designed by Krohn and Hartvig Rasmussen, it has a white travertine marble facade and two connected buildings that are 20,000 square meters. The main building provides a permanent exhibition area, a lecture hall, an art gallery, temporary exhibition halls, a gift shop, and a café. The administrative building includes administrative offices, conservation laboratories, curatorial research areas, collection storage areas, and exhibition construction. The Museum is the reservoir of the history of 6000-year Bahrain. The Graves, Tylos, Dilmun, and Islam Halls show the story of Bahrain from Customs and Traditions, Traditional Trades and Crafts, to Documents and Manuscripts. on the ground and first floors are exhibition halls which are hosts of the “Investing in Culture” exhibition.
Bahrain National Museum keeps a rich collection of historical and ancient artworks from 1988. The museum complex has 6 main halls, three of them dedicated to Dilmun’s archaeology and the ancient civilization, two of them illustrate the lifestyle and culture of the pre-industrial period of Bahrain, and the last one which is opened in 1993 focuses on the natural environment of Bahrain.
1. Hall of Dilmun Graves
The exhibit concentrates on the burial and funeral of the Dilmun civilization and illustrates a real burial mound that was carried from its site named A’ali and gathered together again in the museum. The hall was closed for 5 years for renovation from 2013 to 2018. This renovated museum was designed by French architect Didier Blin again and also provides some archaeological excavations from the most recent findings. UNESCO World Heritage Site confirmed the authenticity of the Dilmun Burial Mounds in 2019.
2. Hall of Documents and Manuscripts
In this hall, you can find rare copies of the Qur’an that belonged to the 13th and 14th centuries and also some letters that are dating back from the ruling Al Khalifa family, records on astronomy, and historical documents.
3. Hall of Dilmun
This exhibit represents the artworks and history of the Dilmun civilization from 5000 BC to 400 BC and its expanded trading network with the Indus Valley and Mesopotamia. In this hall, you can find Dilmunite pottery, artworks from Saar Temple, Barbar temple’s artifacts, Dilmunite stamp seals, etc.
4. Hall of Tylos and Islam
This exhibit represents the history of Bahrain, the time it was influenced by Hellenics. And also display interaction between the Characene kingdom and the Seleucid empire. This hall features alabaster containers, glazed pottery and glasses, and jewelry dating back to that era. The Islamic part of the exhibit illustrates the adoption of Islam by Bahrain from the 7th century AD to the 18th century. It offers some artwork from the oldest mosque in Bahrain, the Khamis Mosque, and Kufic inscriptions are on show in the museum.
5. Hall of Traditional Trades and Crafts
This hall displays the traditional craftsmen by recreating a traditional Bazar of Bahrain such as a portion on pearl diving (pulling pearls from wild mollusks) which is a key factor of the country’s pre-oil economy.
6. Hall of Customs and Traditions
This exhibit concentrates on Bahrain’s ceremonies and traditions before the finding of oil in 1932 and its next modernization. You can find different aspects of the daily life of the public like their childhood, fashion, local religious and medical practices, marriage, and the structure of a traditional house in Bahraini.
Bahrain National Museum is open to the public from 10 am to 6 pm, and is closed on Tuesdays. This museum also provides some regular daily boats to trip to the Bu Maher Fort which is located on Muharraq island. A day tour trip to the Bahrain National Museum can be one of the best enjoyable activities in the region.