3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum

3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum Opens

Qatar Museums unveiled the 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum, during an official opening ceremony at Khalifa International Stadium.

Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Chairperson of Qatar Museums, delivered remarks at the inauguration, which also included performances by the Qatari Philharmonic Orchestra and a children’s choir comprised of children from the Aspire Zone Foundation and local sports federations.  Among the 400 guests who attended the ceremony were H.H. Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani, H.E. Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Thani, H.E. Sheikh Hamad bin Suhaim Al Thani, H.E. Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Al Thani, President of Qatar Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, President of International Olympic Committee, Gianni Infantino, President of FIFA, FIFA legends, and FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ Ambassadors.

Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa said: “This is the very first museum in the Middle East dedicated to achievement in sports, to exploring the profound role of sports in society and in our personal lives, and is the only Arab institution to join the international Olympic Museums Network. In doing so, we demonstrate Qatar’s commitment to the ideals of the modern Olympic Movement, which recognizes the potential for athletic competition to lift the spirit, foster cooperation among people, and encourage a healthy and productive way of life.”

3-2-1 is the newest member of the Olympic Museums Network and one of the world’s most innovative and technologically advanced museums dedicated to sports, offering an unforgettable and inspiring interactive journey through the history and legacy of sports around the globe and the Olympic Games. Through its interactive spaces and programming, 3-2-1 aims to inspire and engage its visitors and encourage the public to participate in sports and physical activity. Designed by Spanish architect Joan Sibina, the museum is approximately 19,000 square metres—making it one of the largest of its kind—and is built onto Khalifa International Stadium, part of Qatar’s Aspire Zone Foundation. The Stadium, originally constructed in 1976, will host FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ matches.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Ali Al Thani, President, 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum, said: “3-2-1 — the newest edition to Qatar Museums’ network — supports the human development pillar of the Qatar National Vision 2030, underscoring the integral role of sports in nurturing human capital and securing a prosperous and sustainable future. In recent years, Qatar has cemented its role as a major international sporting hub and the unveiling of 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum is an incredibly proud and accomplished moment for us at Qatar Museums.” 

“It is an immense honour to celebrate Qatar’s sporting culture and support the country in furthering its ambitions as a major contributor to sustainable sports development,” Sheikh Mohammed added. 

The Museum’s unique exhibits and remarkable collection present the role of sports as one of the most significant cultural developments, the history and contemporary significance of the Olympic Games, the stories of sporting heroes around the world, and the inspiring story of the development of sports in Qatar, and explore the massive impact of mega events hosted by Qatar in recent decades. The interactive experiences in 3-2-1’s “Activation Zone” promote sports across Qatar, inspire future talent, and encourage the adoption of healthy and active lifestyles for all. 3-2-1 comprises seven gallery spaces housing objects from around the globe, from the origins of sports to the present day. The galleries–organised under the direction of Kevin Moore, PhD, Deputy Director of Curatorial Affairs–include:

  • “World of Emotion,” the first gallery space visitors will encounter, serves as the Museum’s reception area and lobby. It provides an overview of the Museum’s themes and the central role of sports in Qatar.  
  • “A Global History of Sport” is a journey through the history of sports across the globe from ancient to modern times. The gallery includes nearly 100 objects and reproductions, ranging from the 8th century BCE to the early 20th century, accompanied by graphics, audio-visual and interactive digital elements. The gallery is organised into geographic and thematic sections, focusing on different historical periods in Europe, Asia and Oceania, the Americas, Africa, and the Middle East. 
  • “Olympics” takes visitors from the ancient Olympic Games through to the birth of the modern Olympics and their growth and significance today. The gallery features a display of every torch from the Summer and Winter Olympic Games from 1936 onwards. Within the gallery’s Olympic Theatre is an immersive video that tells the story of the birth of the modern Olympics and introduces the geopolitical, social, and technological factors that enabled individuals, most notably Pierre de Coubertin, to revive the Olympic Games. 
  • “The Hall of Athletes” is a celebration of sporting heroes from around the world. Here visitors can meet heroes, old and new, and be inspired and amazed by their journeys and achievements. Across three floors, this gallery will profile 90 athletes from across the world and the 20th and 21st centuries, representing a wide range of international sports. Included will be a series of eye-catching displays, each focusing on a different athlete and will include informative text as well as intriguing or awe-inspiring objects (both historic and replicas). 
  • “Qatar – Hosting Nation” explores how the mega sports events hosted by Qatar in recent decades have become a matter of global fascination and national pride. The gallery invites visitors to explore Qatar’s outstanding reputation as a host for international sporting events starting with the Asian Games Doha 2006 and to revisit the most memorable moments of world-class events that the nation has held, including those at Khalifa Stadium since its opening in 1976. 
  • “Qatar Sports” presents the inspiring story of the development of sports in Qatar, from traditional games through to the arrival of international sport and the development of international competitions. The gallery explores how sports has been and continues to be essential to the development of Qatar, looking ahead to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™. The gallery also brings to life Qatar’s long-established sports activities such as falconry, pearl diving and camel racing, exploring how these sports are reflected in Qatar’s oral traditions and illustrating how they are connected to Qatar’s heritage and landscape. 
  • The “Activation Zone” promotes physical activity across Qatar and encourages the adoption of healthy and active lifestyles. Visitors are invited to walk through six spaces that evoke the landscape of Qatar. As they discover the park, the market and desert, the beach, city and finally the arena, visitors will participate in a variety of fun challenges. 

The Museum is built onto the side of Khalifa International Stadium. The design by Spanish architect Joan Sibina comprises two buildings: a main structure that follows the arc of the Stadium, and an attached round access building inspired by the Olympic rings. Khalifa International Stadium is part of Aspire Zone, also known as Doha Sports City, a 250-hectare (2.5 km) sporting complex located in Baaya district of Doha that also includes the Aspire Academy for Qatar’s youth, Hamad Aquatic Centre, Aspire Tower and Doha’s largest park, Aspire Park. 

The café and restaurant at 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum are operated by the JW Marriott with the menu concepts designed by Chef Consultant Tom Aikens, a UK-born Michelin-star chef and avid marathon runner. The 3-2-1 Café, located on the third floor of the Museum, offers visitors tasty, wholesome, freshly made food and drink options as well as takeaway offerings.

The restaurant, Naua, is located on the eighth floor of the Museum. Named after the Arabic word for nucleus of the seed, the restaurant promotes mindful, healthy eating. The menu offers refined dishes made from high-quality, seasonal ingredients. This casual fine-dining restaurant is set to become Doha’s premier destination for diners who seek the ultimate fusion of the healthy and the gourmet. 

The main gift shop, located on the Museum’s fifth floor, offers visitors a wide range of exclusive merchandise inspired by the legacy of sport and the Olympic Games. Visitors can browse and buy a wide range of sportswear and apparel that showcase the positive value of sport and its significance to sports culture within Qatar and beyond. From local football team kits to vintage Olympic poster prints, there is something for all ages to enjoy. 

The museum has collaborated with the International Physical Literacy Association to develop a National Physical Literacy Journey aimed at encouraging the community to adopt a healthy lifestyle and engage in physical activities. 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum has partnered with Accessible Qatar, a Doha based advocacy group that supports promoting Qatar as an accessible destination, to ensure that its facilities are fully accessible.

Photo Credit: Qatar Museums

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