The Iraqi invasion of Kuwait is reflected in a number of Kuwait’s museums. The Kuwait National Memorial Museum in Shuwaikh commemorates the Iraqi invasion and liberation of Kuwait. It exhibits a miniature version of Kuwait City telling the story of the invasion with visual and audio effects. Exposing ‘Saddam Hussein regime crimes’ both before and during the invasion, the propaganda is not to be missed. The al-Qurayn Martyrs’ Museum is another memorial of the invasion. It is a house in the residential suburb of al-Qurayn where members of a Kuwaiti resistance group were attacked by Iraqi troops on 24 February 1991. Following a heavy battle, the Kuwaiti men were defeated by the Iraqis and their house destroyed. The villa was restored as a museum, where visitors can see the damage inflicted on the house and the vehicles and belongings of the Kuwaiti men and Iraqi troops.
The Kuwait National Museum, which was severely damaged and looted during the Iraqi invasion, has two collections, archaeology and traditional Kuwaiti life. The museum is still under renovation. A large new wing is being built to house the famous Dar al-Athar al-Islamiyya collection of Islamic art, which has been temporarily housed at the Amricani Cultural Centre, in the former American Mission Hospital. Amricani Cultural Centre also has other exhibitions and organizes courses and cultural events.
The Al Hashemi Marine Museum exhibits a number of historic dhows of the Arabian Gulf, formerly used for the pearling industry and for transporting water. The adjacent Al Hashemi II, a giant copy of an Arabian dhow, forms a unique landmark on the coast of Kuwait. With a length of 80.4 metres, a width of 18.7 metres and an estimated weight of 2,500 tons, it was built as a private initiative in 1997 to preserve Kuwait’s maritime heritage for future generations.
The Tareq Rajab Museum houses an impressive private collection of artifacts from the Islamic world, from costumes and jewellery to manuscripts and ceramics. The nearby Tareq Rajab Calligraphy Museum, opened in 2007, exhibits a wide range of Arabic calligraphy.
The Dickson House Cultural Centre on the coast is one the few remaining old houses in Kuwait. Originally built for a Kuwaiti merchant in 1870, it served as the residence for British political agents in Kuwait after the British signed an agreement with Mubarak al-Kabir in 1899. The last British commissioner Harold Dickson lived in the house until 1959. The Dickson House exhibits pictures of the family living in the house and documents of the agreement that the British government signed with the Kuwaiti Emir. It was renovated by the National Council for Culture, Arts and Literature and is now a museum.
Other cultural spots in Kuwait are Beit Lothan, for Kuwaiti contemporary artists and youth creativity activities, the Science and National History Museum, and The Museum of Modern Art, which contains paintings from the Kuwaiti modernist period of the second half of the 20th century. The Youm al-Bahhar Village on the coast is a reconstructed ancient village exhibiting arts and crafts.
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