Intangible Heritage, Qatar

A dhow in front of the changing Doha skyline

Critical debates on intangible heritage at the National Museum of Qatar

Pearl-diving display in Souq Qaqif, Doha

This research project aims to examine how critical debates on the safeguarding of intangible heritage relate to the curatorial and documentation work of the National Museum of Qatar in Doha.

Museums around the world are actively engaging with intangible heritage, not least because they are preservation institutions with effective documentation and communication mechanisms. A common characteristic of such museums is that they are not only concerned with the presentation of objects, but also address broader issues of cultural identity and transmission. These are museums that tell stories by creating holistic and multi-sensory experiences and in so doing develop a dynamic focus on community engagement and living culture.

Intangible heritage discussion, Museum of Islamic Art, Doha (May 2010)

In the last decades, Qatar has experienced rapid processes of economic development and urbanisation, which impact significantly on traditional practices and ways of life. This research seeks to record those cultural changes through the development of a documentation programme between the National Museum of Qatar, the Ministry of Culture and local communities. This takes the form of a participatory inventory, a living tool of cultural practices and tradition bearers, where local communities are involved in the identification and transmission of cultural heritage.

The participatory inventory initiative is a new approach to heritage and museum documentation and consists of different sources of information and research data, building on and further developing the existing collections of the museum. It thus employs various documentation methods and media, including oral testimony, ethnographic data, film and video footage, photographic material, linguistic data and genealogical information.


  • Qatar Museum Authority

Project Leader:

Project Partners:

  • National Museum of Qatar
  • Qatar Museum Authority


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