Kuwait National Museum
Located just behind Sadu House in Dasman, just off Arabian Gulf Street, you will find the entrance to the National Museum. Winter opening hours are 8am to 4pm and Summer timings are 8.30am to 12.30pm and 4.30pm to 8.30pm. (The museum is closed Friday mornings, Saturday afternoons and all day on Sundays). Telephone 2244 8726; there is no entrance fee to pay at present.
The front facade looks like a traditional fortress and you must walk through this entrance and out into sandy grounds which are being renovated and modernised following the looting and damage caused during the Iraqi invasion 20 years ago. There are 3 main sections to the museum Archaeology, Heritage and Planetarium.
The first building has 2 rooms displaying Kuwait’s ancient past. It is a collection of exhibits from archaelogical digs on Failaka Island which is 20km east of Kuwait city covering an area of 24 square kilometres.
Apparently Failaka Island excavations show that the island was populated from 3000BC and that this continued until the Hellenic Age when Alexander the Great founded a Greek colony there and called it Ikarus at the end of the 4th century.
You will see many interesting pottery and terracotta pots, jars, flasks and figurines on display from the Hellenistic period, which have been dug up on Failaka. Also you will see bronze tools, tripods and vessels from the Bronze Age as well as some beautiful jewellery- necklaces, rings, gem stones and bracelets – although information given on these has not been translated from Arabic.
16 million year old fossils are displayed along with blades, cutters and flint arrows from the Neolithic age (5000- 8000 BC).
This building houses a make-up of an old souq and displays all the different facets of Arabic life in a life-like way with life size replicas and models.
The souq shows a large variety of traditional shops, a school with school children and their books, men in a diwaniyyah, brides’ room, kitchen, dining room, yard, courtyard, dhow building and fishing scene. They are all nicely recreated scenes giving an insight as to how Kuwait looked in the more recent past.
There are displays of a variety of old pots, incense burners, lamps, scales, musical instruments including drums, tools, coffee pots, locks and keys, guns, traditional dress, jewellery, early writing tools, early telephones, sewing machines and cameras.
Old black and white photographs of Kuwait are also displayed as you exit the Heritage museum.
This was built by Carl Zeiss and designed to be an educational and cultural experience. The ceiling shows a map of the sky that displays mainly the northern hemisphere with its 52 constellations and more than 500 radiant stars. It is surrounded by the 28 phases of the moon.
Small models of space shuttles, the earth orbiting the sun, compasses and also old telescopes are displayed for viewing on the ground floor of the dome.
There is a semi-circular corridor up to the sky dome with a mural on each side. One shows the universe and solar system, the other shows comparative size measurements from particles smaller than electrons up to the size of a human being.
The sky dome show hall at the top projects shows which are screened in the mornings and afternoons, but in English the showing is at present only at 12 noon on weekdays and the museum is closed on Sundays.
Also, there is a very nice replica, right beside Arabian Gulf Street of Al Muhallab 2, a 1937- style trading boat as a reminder of Kuwait’s seafaring past.