One of the most remarkable features in the Kingdom of Bahrain is that the entire country is a living museum harboring under the grave mounds some of the most precious ancient remains of the past that represent the ancient history, culture, traditions of the nation. The objective of Bahrain Museum is to collect, preserve, and study, interpret and use these remarkable archeological monuments as exhibition displays.
Bahrain Museum was opened in the year 1970 with an aim to spread the knowledge and shed light on magnificent past of Bahrain. Bahrain Museum is the largest and one of the oldest museums in Bahrain located between the cities of Manama and Muharraq near the king Faisal Highway in Manama. It is near to Bahrain International Airport.
Bahrain museum is a non-profit organization whose administration is under the control of Directorate of Museums within the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs & Information. The museum is an also an educational and scientific body that conducts an extensive study of its collections and represents the results that are preserved for further reference. It offers the archaeologists various services that would be helpful for their study. In addition, there are provisions for storage, workshops, photo labs, library, restaurant, lagoon and car parking.
Inside the Bahrain Museum, there are nine exhibition halls connected by a large foyer, where temporary exhibitions are conducted. Of the nine exhibition halls, three are devoted to archaeology and the ancient civilization of Dilmun. Two of them represent the recent past i.e. Bahrain prior to industrial development. One hall represents the Natural History hall focusing on the natural environment of Bahrain. It stores the specimens of flora and fauna seen in Bahrain. Bahrain Museum has notes that represent birth of Bahrain in relation to Dilmun. There are notes on astronomy. All these documents are exhibited in the Documents and Manuscripts Hall.
An overview of various halls in the museum follows:
• Documents and Manuscripts Hall: This hall inside Bahrain Museum serves as a store for Bahrain History. It contains a large number of rare manuscripts like holy Quran, Arabic literature and grammar, Hadith or the holy sayings of Prophet, documents related to medicine, astronomy and mathematics. Initially parchment was used to produce the documents and later paper was put to use. Trade and crafts recorded growth.
• Custom and Traditions Hall: As the name represents, the hall represents the ancient customs and traditions of the nation. All the artifacts representing traditions prior to oil period, identification of oil resources, and further development are aptly displayed in this hall. Customs and Traditions hall of Bahrain Museum also focuses on aspects of folk medicine, public celebrations and special occasions. It gives an account of the dress code adopted by men and women in ancient and modern days. There are dresses that represented every particular occasion. The room also represents the artwork of ancient craftsmen and a traditional Bahrain House.
• Hall of Graves: People of Dilmun had great belief in after life. They used to take good care of the dead and bury them with all essential elements that they thought were useful for after life. There are about 100,000 burial mounds making it as a largest prehistoric cemetery. This hall represents several types of burial practices used since ancient times. Bones from graves are used to study the sex, age, height, foods consumed and diseases that were attacked.
• The Hall of Natural History: this represents the collection of various mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, insects, minerals and fossils identified in Bahrain.
Thus the Bahrain Museum with it different halls each representing a wide variety of information serves as a mirror image for the ancient traditions and customs of Bahrain.