Browsing 'qatar museums authority' News

Qatar National Museum

djm129129/Flickr

Despite a minor fire last month, construction for Qatar’s upcoming National Museum remains on track, and an opening date is scheduled for 2016, Qatar Museums has confirmed.

National Museum West View from the Doha Bay

QMA

When completed, the museum, located across from the Corniche near the Museum of Islamic Art, is expected to look like a desert rose that appears to grow out of the ground.

It will join Qatar’s growing collection of cultural facilities, including the MIA, which opened in 2008, and the Arab Museum of Modern Art (Mathaf), which saw a 2010 launch.

Late last year, Sheikha Amna bint Abdulaziz bin Jassim Al-Thani was appointed as the museum’s director.

Her role includes providing “curatorial and managerial leadership,” and supervising educational initiatives, special exhibitions and conferences, and public programs once the museum is open.

Timeline

Previously, a QM spokesperson said that construction on the National Museum is expected to be finished in December. More recently, a representative added that it would take six months for the cement “off-gassing,” or the release of emissions trapped inside the facility, to occur.

Installation of artwork is expected to take about a year after that, the spokesperson said.

National Museum jewelry

Qatar Museums

In terms of which art pieces would be displayed inside the museum, QM has previously said that the facility would represent the “past, present and future of Qatar.”

The authority announced today that some items to be included in the museum are pieces of jewelry donated by Sheikha Maryam bint Mohammed bin Hamad Al Thani on behalf of her late sister,  Sheikha Aisha bint Mohammed bin Hamad Al Thani, who died earlier this year.

The objects include a few gold items and a pearl necklace belonging to the collection of Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani.

In a statement, QM chairperson Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad Al Thani said:

“The National Museum of Qatar is very happy to receive donations from members of the community. These objects will be preserved and shared with the public in order to ensure that our heritage and culture remain long after us.”

We thank all who contributed and continue to do so through the donation of objects, knowledge or oral histories. It’s because of your efforts that the NMoQ will achieve success when it opens in 2016.”

Visual update

In this video published on YouTube in late April, QMA offers a peek into the construction of the National Museum.

The five-minute video contains beautiful aerial perspectives of the development and interviews with key figures, including French architect Jean Nouvel, who designed the museum.

It also shows that the heart of the new development will be the original national museum, which opened in 1975, and was also the former Emiri palace of Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al-Thani.

Thoughts?

QM logo

QM

As part of a new rebranding strategy, Qatar Museums (formerly Qatar Museums Authority) has launched a new logo for its organization, evoking mixed reactions from residents.

The new image has been criticized by some on Twitter for being “boring,” while others have said they admired the strong use of color.

Earlier this month, QM told Doha News that launch of its new brand is part of an attempt to convey a new remit of promoting and protecting culture and heritage across Qatar. The organization also hopes to come across as “an approachable, modern service with a public voice.”

The new logo features four simple, geometric shapes in orange, pink, blue and yellow, and in English and Arabic bears the words “Qatar Museums” and “art, heritage creativity.”

It was formed from geometric shapes used in arabesque art and architecture and aimed to tie together museums, exhibition spaces and heritage sites, which all come under the aegis of QM.

Qatar Museums Chairperson Sheikha Al Mayassa Bint Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani said that the design of the new logo had been chosen to appeal particularly to families and young people. In a statement, she added:

“The colors and shapes are dynamic, reflecting Qatar’s cultural ambition in developing arts, heritage, and creativity.”

But responding to the new logo on social media, some commentators said they felt the design was too simplistic:

https://twitter.com/hooHar/statuses/468106359418789888

The logo was also likened to the recently introduced and similarly brightly colored tourist bus that can be seen around Doha:

New website

Despite criticism over the new logo, some have welcome QM’s re-designed website:

The new site features information on already popular cultural venues such as the Museum of Islamic Art and the Arab Museum of Modern Art (Mathaf), as well as sneak previews of upcoming sites including the National Museum of Qatar and the 3-2-1 Olympic and Sports Museum.

QM website

QM

While including enticing architectural images of the planned musuems, there is notably no details on when these are expected to open to the public.

The National Museum, designed by French architect Jean Nouvel, was originally slated to open its doors at the end of this year, though this date is now unlikely given its current state of construction.

There is also no mention of the proposed Children’s Museum, which a QM employee previously told Doha News may be scaled back or even scrapped. However, a QM spokesperson said there had been “no change” to plans for this museum with teams continuing to work on the collection.

Meanwhile, there has been ongoing concern among QM employees that internal reorganization may lead to some redundancies.

Strategic priorities

As part of its re-branding, QM also announced three strategic priorities. These are:

  • Nurturing emerging talent to inspire the next generation of cultural producers through projects such as the Fire Station: Artist in Residence program;
  • Creating a platform for the voice of Qatar in global debates on culture and creativity, as seen through exhibitions such as Mal Lawal; and
  • Taking museums “beyond four walls,” as exemplified by the Al Zubarah archaeological site.

What are your thoughts on the new logo?

qma new.jpg

Qatar Museums Authority

The Qatar Museums Authority will change its name to “Qatar Museums” this week as part of a move to make it “an approachable, modern service with a public voice,” the organization has announced.

The re-branding plans were shared with staff during a meeting by QMA chairwoman Sheikha Al Mayassa Al Thani. Employees were also told to expect “a review of duplication,” prompting fears of significant job losses at the organization.

In a statement sent to Doha News, QMA said that their new name and brand, which will be officially launched on May 15, was designed to highlight the authority’s role as “a cultural instigator.”

The statement continued:

“This aligns with our organizational vision to develop, promote and sustain the cultural sector in Qatar at the highest standards. In our logo, we removed the word ‘authority’ to become simply ‘QATAR MUSEUMS.’ This signals our shift from being an entity working behind the scenes, to an approachable, modern service with a public voice.”

However, QMA said the name change is not linked to plans to convert the authority into a “private entity for public good.” That move was announced last August amid criticism from some Qataris about how the authority was spending its budget, but has yet to become reality.

Details of the restructuring were supposed to have been disclosed last fall, but nine months have now passed with no news.

Speaking to Doha News, several QMA staff members said that the upcoming departure of CEO Edward Dolman – and the subsequent search for a new leader – has shed doubt on when the move would actually happen. One employee said:

“The hunt is on for a new CEO, and they will have to be Qatari, and that may take some time. It’s Ramadan soon, and it certainly won’t be announced before then. I suspect we won’t get an announcement of a new CEO until September or October.”

In the interim, Mansoor bin Ebrahim Al Mahmoud has been promoted from special advisor to Sheikha Al Mayassa to acting CEO.

The appointment has caused unease among some employees who are worried about staff redundancies, because the Qatari official also serves on the executive board of the Doha Film Institute. That government-funded organization recently has seen significant budget and job cuts.

Job losses

In its statement to Doha News, QMA confirmed that the organization is “reviewing duplication of processes” to make it more efficient.

Internally, this news has provoked concern among many staffers, several of whom have told Doha News that a lack of proper communication from management has increased panic about possible redundancies.

But others argued that the fears were unfounded, saying “the whole country is paused, so it’s not only here.”

Still, uncertainty seems widespread. “You get a Chinese whisper effect,” one employee said. “You hear about job losses varying from 70-700, and budgets being cut from 10 to 70 percent.”

Another employee who also requested anonymity said:

“There have been many rumors about hundreds of people to be laid off. We assume they will keep the core functions of museums within the museums themselves, and move the support functions to the QMA. They will obviously get rid of extra staff that are doing the same tasks. We assume that these will naturally be the expats.”

Staff members have also said there is concern that contracts for many of the QMA’s temporary staff, often hired as consultants, may not be renewed.

QMA employees have also alleged that teams working on plans for three proposed museums – the Pearl, Media and Children’s museums – have been significantly reduced, and plans for individual museums scrapped.

However, a QMA spokesperson told Doha News today that while the organization had considered establishing permanent homes for the Pearl and Media collections, these plans were never formalized.

The collections remain, however, and their respective teams are still working on them, she said, adding that there had been “no change” to plans for the Children’s Museum.

Thoughts?