Gallery: Top 10 museums to check out in Bahrain
Visit the best museums in Bahrain and learn more about the rich cultural heritage and history.
Bahrain Fort Museum
Qal'at Al-Bahrain, or the Bahrain Fort, is an extremely important archaeological site for understanding Bahrain from the Dilmun empire up until the 18th century – but if you truly want to get your head around the Kingdom’s history, head to this museum. The collection is focused around five different historical periods and you’ll soon be up-to-speed on the fort’s occupants over the centuries.
BHD2. Tue-Sun, 8am-8pm. Bahrain Fort Museum, near Karbabad (1756 7171). (Source: TimeOut Bahrain)
Bahrain Military Museum
The Bahrain Military Museum is a must-visit for any history buffs thanks to its collections of weapons, uniforms and documents of the Kingdom’s defence forces over the decades. Visitors can also see who was ruling Bahrain over the ages, and check out jeeps and horses used for transporting soldiers.
Free. Sun-Thu, 8am-1pm. Fri, 2-5pm. Sat, 9am-noon, 2pm-5pm. Bahrain Military Museum, Riffa (1749 5511).
Bahrain National Museum
Visitors can spend hours in the 20,000 sq m Bahrain National Museum and still not see everything, but it’s definitely worth a try. It focuses on different eras including the Dilmuns and Tylos (the name of Bahrain in the 2nd century), and features sections on traditional trades and crafts.
Free. Daily, 8am-8pm. Shaikh Hamad Causeway, Manama (1729 8777).
The Beit Al-Qu’ran is a must visit for anyone who wants to see ancient copies of the Qu’ran. The museum part of the complex also holds a large collection of Islamic art, and those wanting to learn more can ask for a tour.
Free. Sat-Wed, 9am-1pm, 4pm-6pm. Thu, 9am-1pm. Hoora, Manama (1729 0101).
Busaad Art Gallery
The Busaad Art Gallery is dedicated to Bahraini artist Ebrahim Busaad and is held in the house where Busaad himself was born. Busaad’s work has also been shown in the National Museum of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates, the British Museum, and the National Museum of Fine Arts in Jordan but for the most extensive collection is held here.
Free. Sat-Thu, 9am-1pm, 4pm-8pm. Busaad Art Gallery, Muharraq (1700 0020).
Ibrahim Al Arrayed House of Poetry
This museum, which is part of the Shaikh Ebrahim Centre for Culture and Research, is dedicated to the works of Ibrahim Al Arrayed, who was one of Bahrain’s greatest poets before his death in 2002. Visitors can look around Al Arrayedh’s private office and look through volumes of poetry collections.
Free. Sat-Thu, 8am-1pm, 4pm-7pm. Ibrahim Al Arrayed House of Poetry, Gudaibiya, Manama
Bahrain was fundamentally changed by the discovery of oil in 1931, and this museum explores the country’s relationship with the fossil fuel. Visitors can also check out the very first oil well in the Kingdom nearby.
Free. Sun-Thu 9am-5pm. Jebel Dukhan, Manama (1775 3475).
Bu Maher Fort visitor centre
Before oil took over Bahrain’s economy in the 1930s, pearl diving was one of the Kingdom’s main businesses. The importance of this historical trade has been recognised by UNESCO, who have named a number of buildings, oyster beds and this centre as a world heritage site as part of the “pearling path”. Visitors can find out more about the trade before heading off on a 3.5 km route around Muharraq.
Free. Wed-Mon, 10.15am-4.30pm. Qal’at Bu Mahir and Bu Mahir Visitor’s Centre, Muharraq (1729 8777).
Rashid Al Oraifi Museum
Bahraini artist Rashid Al-Oraifi has turned his family residence into this gallery which features a number of his works, each of which was inspired by the Dilmun period.
BHD1.5. Sat-Thur, 10am-5pm. Rashid Al Oraifi Museum, Muharraq (1733 5616).
Shaikh Isa Bin Ali House
This building, constructed around 1800, was once the home of Shaikh Isa Bin Ali Al Khalifa, ruler of Bahrain between 1869 and 1932. Aside from the fact that this was once a royal’s home, making it fascinating enough, the building is also one of the best-preserved architectural examples from this period.
BHD1. Sat-Tue, 8am-2pm. Wed-Thu, 9am-6pm. Shaikh Isa Bin Ali House, Muharraq.