Kuwait has various Museums across the country. Some of them are Islamic Museums and others are history Museums related to the country.
Dar al Islamiya
The Dar Al-Athar Al-Islamiyyah, (House of Islamic Antiquities), is located inside the Kuwait National Museum complex. This is one of the most comprehensive collections of Islamic art in the world – covering all geographic regions and historic periods from the eighth to the eighteenth century. This extraordinary collection was formed by Sheikh Nasser Al-Sabah and his wife, Sheikha Hussa Al-Sabah who started collecting Islamic art in order to bring objects back ‘home’ – near to where they had originally been made. When the Dar Al-Athar Al-Islmaiyyah first exhibited, the collection was comprised of 1,200 objects – but now numbers over 20,000. It also contains a specialised library of several thousand books in different languages on Islamic history and heritage. The collection is a tribute to the patient endeavours of Sheikh Nasser and Sheikha Hussa who have created one of the most spectacular collections of Islamic art in existence. The British Museum has previously staged a major exhibition of Islamic art with a very significant number of works from the Dar Al-Athar Al-Islamiyyah collection.
Educational Science Museum
Located downtown Kuwait City near the Liberation Tower, the Educational Science Museum was Kuwait’s first museum, and it contains displays about the history of the petroleum industry in Kuwait, natural history, electronics, space and aviation, and zoology subjects, as well as a planetarium. It also boasts an 18 meter whale skeleton. Tel – 2421268/2466973. Open from 9am to 12am and 4:30-7:30 Saturday to Wednesday.
Kuwait House of National Memorial Museum
There is an entry fee of KD1. Once you go inside you get a personal guide. The museum is divided into various sections, the first section talks about Kuwait’s origins and how they discovered oil and how Kuwait gained its independence. Then they show you images from the last meeting on August 1st 1990 in Jeddah with Saddam Hussain who says that everything is cool and they won’t invade Kuwait, then you move to the next section. The second section is where they talk about the invasion of Kuwait, all done using models and special effects. They have a huge model of Kuwait City and the streets are littered with model tanks, other vehicles and soldiers. This section is a long dark corridor with displays on both sides of the room all in the dark. Then as the story is being narrated through speakers in the room, the different sets light up to show the story. These sets with the models have strategically located lights and smoke machines, very cool stuff plus there were a lot of sound effects of machine gun fire, people shouting and things exploding. They open in the morning and in the evenings. With the KD1 entrance you get a guided tour, 2 movies you watch about the war, and souvenirs which involve posters, a cool brochure with nice pictures, and another brochure on the museum. To find out where exactly they are located and when they are open you can call 4845335 or 4846336. It is located in Shuwaikh near the Arab Fund Building and the Kuwait Red Crescent Society.
Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) Display
The Kuwait Oil Company has an ultra-modern audio-visual museum of Kuwait’s oil industry, past and present. This is a museum devoted to the history of oil, from geological formation through exploration, drilling, and recovery. It was destroyed in the Iraqi invasion in 1990, but has been reconstructed with additional exhibits. These include notably how the Iraqi occupation forces set fire to most of Kuwait’s oil wells, and the subsequent well-capping and fire-fighting operations. In Ahmadi area, it is open by appointment, tel 398 2393 / 398 9111 / 398 1678. KOC can also arrange for groups to tour the oil fields themselves.
Al-Hashemi Maritime Museum
Located at the SAS Hotel, the Al-Hashemi Maritime Museum is housed in the Al Hashemi II, which is the world’s largest wooden Arabic dhow (It’s in the Guinness Book of World Records!). The museum showcases traditional shipbuilding and seafaring in Kuwait and features large models of different traditional dhows, sea tools and accessories highlighting Kuwait’s long maritime and trading traditions. The large dhow also has a Grand Ball Room and several other reception areas that are used for weddings, conferences, dinners, etc. The museum is free.
The National Museum
The National Museum (Tel : 2451195/4) is located on the Gulf Road just south of the Parliament / National Assembly downtown. It was opened in December 1957. Looted and burned by the former Iraqi regime during the invasion, the museum is now restored and has been re-opened to the public – with many, but not all, artifacts having been returned from Iraq. In 1997, Muhallab II, the replacement for (and replica of) the magnificent trading dhow from the 1930s that graced the front yard of the museum before it was burned by the former Iraqi regime, was constructed on site and is now open to visitors.
Qurain Martyr’s House
This destroyed private house (tel 543 0343) was the site of the bloody battle between the Messilah Resistance Group and the Iraqi occupiers. A solemn monument to the martyrs of Kuwait (In Qurain area, on road 208 between Fahaheel and Magreb Expressways – there should be signs).
The Taraq Rajab Museum
(Tel : 5317358) is a private museum located in Jabriya. The museum specializes in Islamic Arts and Crafts and is open daily from 9.00am – 12.00, 4.00pm – 8.00pm, closed Friday afternoons. Open to the public since 1980, the museum houses a host of Islamic art and artefacts, ranging from pottery and glass work, to musical instruments and jewellery. Entrance to the museum is free. It is located in Jabriya (Area 12, Street 5 – down the street from the Iranian School and near the New English School and the Hadi Clinic).
Modern Art Museum (Sharqeya School)
This is a lovely new museum of modern painting and sculpture by Kuwaiti and Arab artists. Originally opened as a boys’ school in 1935, then a girls’ school in 1938, the National Council for Culture Arts and Letters reopened it as a museum in 2003. It is located directly across the Gulf Road from Souq Sharq near a large dhow. It is free and open Saturday to Wednesday 0900-1300 and 1700-2100. Very informed and friendly tour guides who speak English are available. 2468348 / 2468354 / 2468401 ex 105 or 115.