The Sheikh Faisal Museum was established in 1998, in the grand Qatari fort at Al Samriya Farm with its distinctive, breath-taking exterior. Built of local stone, with traditional turrets the building is itself a collector's piece. Designed to preserve and display the extraordinary artefacts collected by Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim bin Faisal Al-Thani, the building's return to historic Qatari architecture resonates against modern day Doha. Sheikh Faisal is dedicated to preserving and promoting particularly Islamic heritage for the people of Qatar and its international visitors. The museum has expanded since its opening, with new facilities for research and education purposes as well as state-of-the art facilities for entertainment in the inimitable Gulf style.
The Museum began life with the natural curiosity of a young man who grew up witnessing the cultural, economic and political transitions of a small peninsula in the Arabian Gulf. He lived hearing the stories of his grandfathers and grew cherishing world's history. His father also encouraged an active interest in cultural heritage on their travels throughout the Gulf region and across the world. Sheikh Faisal eagerly visited museums and archaeological sites during these journeys, and from these adventures grew his particular interest in Qatari and Islamic culture. He took it upon himself to collect and document elements relating to the Arabian Gulf and slowly that interest widened to embrace other areas of the world as he saw how it all connected to one another.
Sheikh Faisal's collection was hosted at a special place at his Majlis in Al-Samriya. As he received more visitors who were intrigued in finding what has been added to the collection, the initiation of the new building proceeded, The Sheikh Faisal Museum as we know today is an ongoing, growing passion of one man to preserve and spread Qatari and world cultures.
Sheikh Faisal's enthusiasm for collecting developed equally, into a duty to preserve important elements of cultural heritage, and ultimately to share these with the public. Four themed collections have been built; Islamic Art, Qatar Heritage, Vehicles and Coins & Currency, comprising over 15,000 pieces from 4 continents. Each collection contains further collections, making the Museum a treasure trove of unique fossils, scriptures, Islamic textiles, ancient figurines, vintage cars, rare coins, as well as the world's largest private collection of armory. Sheikh Faisal's tireless dedication has resulted in a world class museum, where everyone can find something that fascinates and delights.
In 2010, the museum was selected by the Ministry of Art, Culture and Heritage as one of Qatar's cultural landmarks as part of the 'Qatar capital of Culture' activities.