Our galleries reveal the cultural impact of sports through multiple perspectives: the history and contemporary significance of the Olympic Games, the inspiring journeys of global sports heroes, and the development of sports in Qatar. Interactive experiences in our Activation Zone promote healthy and active lifestyles.
About the Galleries
3-2-1 comprises seven gallery spaces housing objects from around the globe, from the origins of sports to the present day.
Gallery 1 (Main Lobby Area): World of Emotion
The Museum’s lobby area features access to the auditorium, conference rooms and an atrium with direct access to the Activation Zone. This introduction space provides an overview of the Museum’s themes and the central role of sports in Qatar. A video wall and custom soundscape welcome visitors into the Museum and build excitement for what lies ahead in the galleries.
Gallery 2: A Global History of Sport
“A Global History of Sport” invites visitors on a journey through the history of sports across the globe from ancient to modern times. The gallery includes almost 100 objects and reproductions, ranging from the 8th century BCE to the early 20th century, accompanied by graphics, audiovisual and interactive digital elements. It is organised into geographic and thematic sections, focusing on different historical periods in Europe, Asia and Oceania, the Americas, Africa and the Middle East. Through these featured cultures, the gallery illustrates how sports evolved all over the world, examining the similarities that drove communities to develop sports in response to deep human needs.
Gallery Highlight: The Art of Fencing
Collection Highlight: A Piece of Football Association History
Gallery Highlight: A Driving Legend’s Custom Car
Gallery 3: Olympics
Using a combination of history, archaeology and contemporary sources, the “Olympics” gallery takes visitors on a journey from Greek Antiquity to the present day, exploring the Ancient Games through the birth of the modern Olympics, and their growth and significance today. “Olympics” is made up of four zones, with the first providing context on the cultural and philosophical drivers that led to the creation of the ancient games and the popularity of the Games in ancient Greece, as well as the site of Olympia as a hub of athletic, religious and cultural activity.
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, as well as individuals, most notably Pierre de Coubertin, that contributed to the revival of the Olympic Games. Also included is a display of every torch from the Summer and Winter Olympic Games from 1936 onwards.
A final section explores the history, legacy and values of the modern Olympics, and the ways in which the spirit of the Games is kept alive by the work of international and national Olympic committees, the legacy of each Games, and by athletes and spectators around the world.
Gallery 4: Hall of Athletes
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 profiles 90 athletes from across the world and the 20th and 21st centuries, representing a wide range of international sports. Included is a series of eye-catching displays, each focusing on a different athlete, along with informative text as well as intriguing or awe-inspiring objects (both historic and replicas).
The themes of passion, drive and determination resonate from these stories of trailblazing women and men who were the first of their country, religion, gender, age or ethnicity to compete and to win share themes of passion, drive and determination. Athletes who have overcome great challenges to succeed, athletes whose reputations transcend their sports and whose public images have become powerful symbols, are represented in the “Hall of Athletes.”
Historic and replica objects include large-scale items, such as a bobsleigh, and a Formula 1 car, which are featured in Gallery 4 along with dramatic life-size images and exciting video content.
The sounds of high-octane sports events convey the drama and thrills of lives lived on the world stage of sport. Through the lens of local fans and sports enthusiasts, the audiovisual experience in the gallery shows the inspiration and meaning that these athletes' stories and achievements can have in our everyday lives.
Collection Highlight: Sachin Tendulkar’s Master Blaster
Gallery Highlight: Float like a Butterfly, Sting like Muhammad Ali
Gallery Highlight: Tony ‘The Birdman’ Hawk’s Skateboard
Gallery Highlight: ‘Game, Set, Match’ The Mighty Federer
Collection Highlight: The Jordan Touch
Collection Highlight: Palestinian Football’s Queen Bee
Gallery Highlight: Zinedine ‘Zizou’ Zidane’s Legacy
Gallery Highlight: A Football Fit for a King
Gallery 5: Qatar – Hosting Nation
This gallery explores how the mega sports events hosted by Qatar in recent decades have become a matter of global fascination and national pride. The 2006 Asian Games in Doha was the first major sports event to be held by a Gulf country. One of the most successful Asian Games ever held, it included 45 countries in 424 events in 39 sports. Previously, Qatar had been hosting individual international events since the 1970s and annual events since the 1990s.
Gallery texts reveal how the 2006 Asian Games was a catalyst for the development of Qatar as a hosting nation, and how the event accelerated the urban transformation of the country, creating world-class sports, hospitality and visitor infrastructure fit to host sporting megastars and their global audiences.
An exciting video installation tells the story of the Khalifa International Stadium, from its opening in 1976 to stage the First Arabian Gulf Cup, to the staging of the IAAF World Athletics Championship in 2019 and its refurbishment for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™.
Through a series of immersive experiences, from motorsports to equestrian and racquet sports, from track and field to handball and football, the gallery revisits the most memorable moments of these world-class Qatari hosted events and examines their lasting legacy.
Gallery 6: Qatar Sports Culture
Our sixth gallery presents the story of Qatar’s sporting transformation from traditional sports and games, dating back several thousand years, to its role today as a global sporting nation. Immersed in the atmosphere of a Qatari majlis, visitors are invited to learn about Qatar’s maritime and desert traditions, and then through a series of audiovisual experiences and timelines, to see how the country is preserving and celebrating its traditions.
A new era arrived in the 1940s, when Qatar Petroleum built sports facilities for its British employees. By the 1950s Qataris were embracing Western sports; multi-sports clubs and local football teams were formed. Visitors are welcomed to take a virtual ride on a school bus to learn how sports became central to the school curriculum. A series of interactive digital installations highlights the drama of key sporting events and fascinating personal stories from the individuals involved, and visitors have the chance to take part physically in traditional Qatari games like taq-taqia and el-gaiss (a game similar to hopscotch).
The gallery examines moments that are etched in the nation’s collective memory, from the first Arabian Gulf Cup in 1970, and the visits of sporting heroes Muhammad Ali and Pelé, who came to Qatar to compete, to the building of the iconic Khalifa Stadium in 1976, marking a turning point in Qatar’s sporting history. Today Qatar welcomes the world to spectacular sports events in state-of-the-art facilities and sends its male and female athletes to compete at elite international level. The gallery provides unique insights into Qatar’s sporting journey and culminates in the examination of its use of sports for social development – at home and abroad – and looking ahead to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™.
Gallery 7: Activation Zone
The Museum’s final gallery promotes physical activity across Qatar and encourages healthy and active lifestyles. This interactive gallery experience begins with the inspirational stories of local people who have made the decision to adopt healthy and active lifestyles. The gallery encourages continued engagement with the Museum through its exciting and innovative program of events, challenges and activities.
Visitors are also invited to immerse themselves in Qatar’s active environment and walk through a digital installation that reflects the landscape of Qatar – the parks, markets and desert, beaches, city and finally the Khalifa Arena. Guests can track their immersive “visits” through a personal device that explores an individual’s physical literacy: Fortitude (concentration, endurance and stamina), Vitality (strength and power), Collaboration (teamwork and cooperation skills), Control (skill, balance, coordination) or Quickness (reactions and speed). Finally, visitors can create personal physical profiles with recommendations of suitable physical activities and resources to access the activities across Qatar or within schools.