Beirut National Museum Review

Images courtesy of Wikipedia

Useful Info:

  • Collection: Archaeological collections exclusively from Lebanon, from Prehistory to the Ottoman Period
  • City: Beirut, Lebanon
  • Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday 9am-5pm
  • Price: 5,000 LBP regular, 1,000 LBP concessions
  • Website

This first review might be slightly biased due to the fact that I’ve worked there for a few months. Still I think this museum is definitely worth visiting. It has two floors, but the underground is due to open in December 2015 and I have some exclusive info about that part (yay!).

The ground floor is where all the large objects are concentrated. It’s divided mainly in two parts, on for the Bronze and Iron Ages and one fro the Greco-Roman period. The newly opened Maurice Chehab room features recent discoveries and is a great showcase for finds from excavations that happened in the past ten years. The ground floor has some spectacular objects, including stunning sarcophagi; and some highlights of not only the museum collection but Lebanese history such as the Ahiram sarcophagus, but I have a preference for the first floor.

Upstairs is where the smaller artifacts are displayed. It overlooks the ground floor all around, which highlights the great volumes and spacious architecture.  Again it’s organized chronologically, in a circuit beginning from prehistory and ending with the Ottoman period as well as a small display of artifacts having been damaged by the civil war. As you will notice in future reviews, I am a fan of museums that have some logic in the way that they are set up, I think it gives them coherence. This floor hosts some incredible objects, make sure you check out the seals and scarabs, the tiny gold vessel, the glass collection, and the ivory boxes.

The underground is going to be structured the same way as the first floor, offering a chronological path through the funerary customs of Lebanon across time. I have had the chance to see some of the plans, work closely with the people selecting and preparing the objects for the display, and even visited the tomb of Tyre, which will be a major highlight of this gallery. Of course, a review will come in due course. Also I am sorry about using images that are not my own but it’s gonna be like this for the first few reviews because I didn’t plan on making reviews when I visited them so I don’t have good photos.

Rating

  • Accessibility (location, price, disabled access, transport links and parking): 8/10
  • Architecture: 8/10
  • Collections: 9/10
  • Display: 9/10
  • Resources (explanation panels, guides, plans): 7.5/10
  • Extras (shop, events, exhibitions): 6/10
  • Overall: 8/10

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