Kuwait National Museum

Parimita Barooah Bora
Tuesday, July 6, 2010

When you shift base to a new country the best place to know about that country, its history, culture and custom is to visit its museums. That’s the first step we took after landing in Kuwait. We visited the Kuwait National Museum. After that many more visits followed taking parents, in-laws, my brother and friends.
Located in Kuwait City on the Arabian Gulf Street between the Seif Palace and the National Assembly (Parliament), the Kuwait National Museum was planned by Michel Ecochard. A few feet away, there is Al Sadu house which faces the Gulf Street. Though the architectural project and the plans of the museum were ready in 1960, actual construction started only in 1981. It was on February 23, 1983 that two of the four buildings were inaugurated; the planetarium was opened on February 16, 1986. One of the four blocks of the museum houses all administrative wings, offices and an auditorium. The permanent exhibits are displayed in the other three blocks.

The museum has an interesting history. It was originally the residence of Sheikh Ahmed Al Jaber Al Sabah. But the archaeological discoveries at Failaka created a need for a place to house these important finds. A Department of Antiquity and Museums was also set up by the government and the department bought the former home of the Sabah family in Kuwait City and turned it into the national museum. A tour of the Kuwait National Museum of Kuwait makes you discover the wonderful art collection of the Al-Sabah dynasty.

Upon entering the guard takes your civil ID and gives you a visitor’s badge. The entry to the museum is free. The museum visiting hours are as follows: Monday to Saturday: 8.30-12.30AM   4.30- 8.30PM
Friday        Morning off.         Afternoon:  4.30-8.30
There are two types of museums, the first museum is a display of artifacts found on Failaka Island during an archaeological dig, wooden doors of the past, terracotta and engraved tools, animal fossil which is 16million old, group of blades and cutters from Flint stone and Neolithic age, silver statues and bronze coins from the bronze period and Hellenistic period.

The next museum is a museum of Kuwaiti heritage. It portrays what Kuwait was like during the 40's and 50's. The displays include statues imitating the old ways of Kuwait; from merchants selling their goods to what a typical Kuwaiti house looked like before the invasion of modern technology. There are old photos dating back to 1942. You will come to know that Kuwait was once a simple trading hub and that a lot of people depended on the sea for earnings. As you enter the museum on the left side is a library of old Arabic books. It’s difficult to understand what the books are all about as there were no explanations in English. But the other displays are nicely explained in English. The first statue is that of “Al Natur”( guard of the market). His duty was the security and maintenance of the market. Then there is “Al Bajajas” or the Jew market as all the vendors were Jewish. They imported things from India and sold it to the Kuwaiti people. “Al Bourkhotaah”(originally Indian word) is the shop that sells utensils and household items. Most of the items were imported from India. Then there is “Al Kharaj”, who sold leather products mainly shoes of camel and sheep skin. ‘Al Khabooj” is the oldest market in Kuwait, who makes and

sells bread. “Al Tamoor”, locally known as “Al Tamar” was the Dates Market. Varieties of dates are displayed which are kept in wooden boxes. Al Behri is the most costly dates and it’s from the Basra district of Iraq. Also the Arms Market, where different types of guns were sold and repaired. They were mainly imported from Europe. Al Naddaf and Al Haddad are also exhibited."Al Naddaf"  is the person who prepares the cotton and fiils it in different items made from textiles like mattresses, seats and cushions.  "Al Haddad" is the Arabic name for blacksmith, one of Kuwait's oldest crafts serving local needs for iron products." Souq Al Haddadin" is one of Kuwait's oldest markets. Also beautifully projected is "Al Qaffas", the name give to the person who manufactures products made from palm tree banches such as birdcages, beds and others. These products were considered very important for the daily life of Kuwaitis in the past. "Al Saffar" is the name given to the person who makes copper utensils and accessories. In the past " Souq Al-Safafir"  was the marketplace for copper utensils and accessories. Shops selling grocery ‘Bakala’; shops selling cloths “ Bishoyts”; curtain maker “Al Gatan”; “Al Safat Square”, which was a commercial area for long time, where convoy’s meet and exchanged products, then Al Sadu weaving which is their traditional weaving are all presented attractively. Then Madrassa’s, Diwaniya, Bride’s room, Family Room, Kitchen, Inner courtyard of a Kuwaiti household etc which are part of a Kuwaiti house are attractively displayed. In the past Kuwaiti’s mainly depended on ship building and pearl diving to earn their living. Building sailing ships was known as “Al Qallafa" and this industry became popular and grew over the past three centuries and played an integral role in Kuwait's economy in the past. This glorious past of Kuwait is also vividly displayed.

Apart from the daily life been projected in statues and images, there are a few antique's on display such as gramophones, camera's, radio’s, weapons, jewelry, clothing ( men and women), Chinese items mainly household pots, plates, incense holder and sprays of different shapes and sizes and a lot more to see and learn.

The Kuwait National Planetarium which is a part of Kuwait National resembles a big oil container. Inaugurated in 1986, the planetarium was one of the first in the Gulf region. Carl Zeiss equipped the dome with all technical facilities. The end came after only four years of its operation. In 1990, during the Gulf War, the Kuwait National Planetarium building was sabotaged and the planetarium burnt. The initial plan was to keep the destroyed building as witness to the invasion but reconstructions begin in 2000.
Try to take your kids to attend the shows at the planetarium as it is educative and appealing. It remains open till 7 in the evening. There are no morning shows on Friday and Saturday’s. The show timings are as follows:
Mornings:
1st Show : 10:00
2nd Show : 11:00
3rd Show : 12:00
Evenings:
1st Show : 5:00

Parimita Barooah Bora is a onetime lecturer and currently she is a stay-at-home mom. Having done her post graduation in English, Education and Travel n Tourism, she taught for few years until her relocation to Kuwait. She likes to share the experiences of her life as a freelance contributor to various newspapers, magazines and websites. Now, as a freelance writer and teaching children in the evenings at home keeps her busy. Member of IWIK Team.
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Express your comment on this article

 
pin
Posted on Saturday, August 11, 2012

a wonderful place!

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Parimita
Posted on Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Nice to know that you have enjoyed yr visits.

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smartcochi
Posted on Sunday, February 27, 2011

Thank you Parimita fr your information about this place.
I visited yesterday with mine and my friend's family.It was a a great experience.
The timing,i found on board is n friday,no morning visit and on saturday,no afternoon visit.But may be because,it was public holiday,they allowed to visit.No fee for entry and for planetarium show.English show is at 6.30.(but cannot trust,as they did yesterday)...anyways we enjoyed the trip.
Route=>from shuwaikh side,take gulf street>after parliament,its the second right turn.

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MB.Ahamedd
Posted on Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Today I have been to Museum and planetarium with kids. It is amazing to sit in the planetarium, which gives lot of information about planets in a simple visual and audio. Heritage house took us to the old Kuwait life style. Showhouse has many archaeological (unearthed thing)thing, which has taken from Failaka Island. It's free.

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Shabeer
Posted on Monday, October 25, 2010

PAST??? u mean History

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gulzar
Posted on Wednesday, September 29, 2010

my kids enjoyed the heritage museum and the show at planetarium.thank you

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Parimita
Posted on Sunday, September 26, 2010

To go to Failaka Island you need to go to Marina Mall. Just near the mall there is a counter where you will get info about the boats and hotel to stay there. Its from that point ships sail to the island.You have to book one day ahead.

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Sheik Tirur
Posted on Thursday, September 23, 2010

Can anyone tell how to visit Failkha island and nearby islands?

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Calvin
Posted on Friday, August 27, 2010

The museum is really fun.The best place is the aqarium.Its really fun.

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Parimita
Posted on Sunday, August 22, 2010

Photography not allowed inside.

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zachby
Posted on Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Is photography allowed inside?If so hw's the charge?

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elvis godfrey
Posted on Saturday, July 24, 2010

its an awesome place to visit

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Parimita Barooah Bora
Posted on Monday, July 19, 2010

Phone number of the National Museum is 22451195 n 22456534.



Phone number of the Planetarium is 22411970.



Entry to both are free.

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friend
Posted on Sunday, July 18, 2010

do you have the contact number of this museum & planetarium?

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Nishad nair
Posted on Thursday, July 15, 2010

great..

can u tell me the location

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m.jaya prakash kumar
Posted on Sunday, July 11, 2010

Dear sir,i want to see....musuem..so please can you tell where is the address......and location

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Friend
Posted on Saturday, July 10, 2010

To those who enquired
Dickson House - after the seef palace or grand mosque round about, go straight towards sharq mall, but keep to your right and after 100 mts or less there is a small bus stand, at that spot the dickson house stands, its a white small building (inside big) and kuwait flag on the top is hung. In the evening its open 5-7pm (at the entrance you can check the timings)

House of Mirrors - Call ahead to arrange a tour. No admission fee and, as this is a private house, tea might be offered. Some of Lydia’s pieces are on sale. Remember, it is most polite to extend a gift in return for the unique Kuwaiti hospitality that will be extended. Telephone 251 8522 to schedule a tour. Qadisiya area Block 9, Street 94, House 17 (You can’t miss it; it’s the one with the pieces of glasses glued all over it.)

Arab Fund Organization Building - contact Mr. Mohammad Qatami, Mr Mohammad Ansari, Mr Osama Wanas – Engineering Manager (9908 8023), Mr Aslam Minhas or Mr Emad El Attar at telephone 2484 4500 for tour details. Children are not allowed. Arrange a convenient time. You will definitely be impressed by this place. Also its located near city centre, after zain offices, but take road 80 before the bridge to go city, go below bridge, wait at signal and after wards go ahead and take right and again right to enter the building parking space.

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Rekha Mol K.S
Posted on Thursday, July 8, 2010

great! i never heard about a planetarium in Kuwait! like to go there. how much it cost for an entry ticket? or is it free? how many minitu from hawally?&can you tell the exact place







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anuradha
Posted on Thursday, July 8, 2010

I shall be very thankful if you please can you tell me the location of museum ,planetarium ,Arab Fund Organization Building, and the mirror house Also the Dickson house, in Kuwait and rout to reachover there from Fahaheel.
Thanks in advance to Friend.

Dinesh Kumar Pal
Posted on Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I shall be very thankful if you please can tell location of planetarium ,Arab Fund Organization Building, and the mirror house Also the Dickson house, in Kuwait and rout to reachover there from Fahaheel.

Thanks in advance to Friend.

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zahida
Posted on Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I heared abt kuwait meusium whc is location in Mirgaab. But Kuwait miusium is locating in gulf road i don knw abt tht. And second thing planetarium i want to go there with my kids. So kindly inform me tht where it is located n how mch it cost.

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Friend
Posted on Tuesday, July 6, 2010

You've got to visit the Arab Fund Organization Building, and the mirror house (private but open to visitors) to really see the beauty. These are also places to visit. Also the Dickson house, gives you complete insight to the lifestyle in Kuwait before and after oil was discovered. Visit these places if you can.

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PARIMITA
Posted on Tuesday, July 6, 2010

It's free. No entry ticket.Upon entering the guard takes your civil ID and gives you a visitor’s badge.Thats all.

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Mukesh
Posted on Tuesday, July 6, 2010

great! i never heard about a planetarium in Kuwait! like to go there. how much it cost for an entry ticket? or is it free?

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