Ten top museums in Muscat

Soak up some culture while on your holiday

Ten top museums in Muscat
Muscat Gate Museum

There are two types of holidays: ones where you pound the pavements for hours on end, visiting every museum,  gallery, and tourist hotspot possible, and ones where you don’t leave the hotel and spend the whole day by the pool.

If you’re looking to have a holiday like the former, you’ll be wondering what the must-see museums are in Muscat.

Luckily for you, we’ve rounded up ten of the best.

Read on for our picks.

Bait Al Baranda
If you want an introduction to the history of Muscat from ancient times right up until the modern day, Bait Al Baranda isn’t a bad place to start. The museum’s exhibitions cover everything from geology to folk art, so you’ll come out with a broad range of knowledge. Plus, the museum is inside a building that was used as by the American Mission in the 1930s so you’ll get a taste of some 20th century architecture too.
OMR1 (adults), OMR0.5 (children). Sat-Thu 9am-1pm, 4pm-6pm. Bait Al Baranda, Muttrah (2471 4262).

Bait Al Zubair
This private museum is more like a complex, with five separate buildings, including a gallery. It features artefacts collected by the Zubair family such as Omani daggers, jewellery and musical instruments and gives an insight into how the family lived in the 19th and 20th centuries. A must visit for anyone in Muscat.
OMR2 (adults), free (children under ten), OMR1 (children aged ten to 15). Sat-Thu 9.30am-6pm. Bait Al Zubair, Old Muscat (2208 4700).

Children’s Museum
As the name would suggest, this museum is aimed at your little ones. It’s very hands on and aims to get kids interested in science through exhibitions on the human life, physics, and the history of science. Be warned, though – they might get bored in other museums that lack as many interactive displays.
OMR0.5. Sun-Thu 8am-1.30pm; Sat 9am-1pm. Children’s Museum, Qurum (2460 5368).

Ghalya’s Museum of Modern Art
Although this museum does feature an art gallery displaying modern Omani art, it isn’t quite what it says on the tin. The majority of the museum is designed to look like the home of the former occupants between 1950 and 1975, complete with old clothes, pots and pans and other items. You’ll get the sense that you’ve travelled back in time upon stepping inside.
OMR1 (adults), OMR0.5 (children). Sat-Thu 9.30am-5pm. Ghalya’s Museum of Modern Art, Muttrah (2471 1640).

Muscat Gate Museum
This museum, which, as the name suggests, is above the Muscat gate, explores the history of the capital. You’ll learn about the growth of the city from a commercial port into a prosperous capital, and about Oman’s distinct architecture.
Free. Sun-Thu 8am-2pm. Muscat Gate Museum, Old Muscat (9932 8754).

National Museum
If you want to learn all about Oman, there’s no better place to do it than at the National Museum. Opened in 2016, this building hosts more than 5,000 objects from the earliest human settlement right up to the modern day. Exhibitions focus on the country’s maritime history, its currency, intangible heritage and the role of Islam, among others.
OMR1 (residents), OMR5 (tourists). Sat-Thu 10am-5pm; Fri 2pm-6pm. National Museum, Old Muscat (2208 1500).

Natural History Museum
At some point in your life you will have undoubtedly been inside a natural history museum, so you can probably guess what’s inside. Highlights of this particular natural history museum include tree fossils dating back more than 260 million years, coral fossils from 270 million years ago, and the teeth of prehistoric animals which are between 15 and 35 million years old. There’s also a full-sized skeleton of a sperm whale.
OMR0.5 (Omani adults), OMR1 (tourists). Sun-Thu 8am-1.30pm; Sat 9am-1pm. Natural History Museum, Al Khuwair (2464 1374).

Oman Oil and Gas Exhibition Centre
You can’t think about the Middle East without thinking about oil, and at this museum you can find out all about the various aspects of oil production, from discovery to transportation. You’ll also learn about the different products oil and gas are used to create.
Free. Sun-Thu 8am-3pm. PDO Oman Oil and Gas Exhibition Centre, Mina al Fahal (2467 7834).

Man has been looking towards the stars since the beginning of time, and you can learn all about the night’s sky at this planetarium. It has an 11-metre domed ceiling with five laser projectors, LED lighting and a sound system which are used to create fantastic stargazing shows. It’s also right next to the Oman Oil and Gas Exhibition Centre, so you can combine your visits.
Free. Sun-Thu 8am-3pm. PDO Planetarium, Mina al Fahal (2467 5542).

Sultan’s Armed Forces Museum
This museum, inside the 150-year-old Fort Al Falaj House which once served as the headquarters for Sultan Said bin Sultan’s armed forces, houses all kinds of weapons, uniforms, military vehicles and medals from over the centuries. You’ll be accompanied on your visit by a military escort, and you’ll also get to learn about the general history of Oman.
OMR0.5 (adults), free (children). Armed Forces Museum, Fort Al Falaj House, Ruwi (2431 2655).

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