The National Museum of Qatar
Recently launched in Doha, The National Museum of Qatar captures the rich history of Qatar through a vast visitor-experience spanning a total area of 1.5km. As one of the latest additions to Qatar’s iconic skyline it will be a centrepiece attraction for thousands of tourists interested in learning more about the country’s fascinating heritage.
As Qatar has a great deal of maritime history, Premier Ship Models were approached to create six ship models for a permanent exhibition in the museum. The models were to be of the Flor do Mar (a Portuguese Nao), Bastarda (Ottoman Galley), Baghla: Rahma bin Jaber (Dhow), Baghla: Isa bin Tareef (Dhow), Zuhaf (Ottoman Barge) and the HMS Vigilant (Victorian Gunboat) and all models were to be built in 1:70 scale.
Each model was chosen as the ship had a significant meaning to the history of Qatar.
• Flor do Mar - the Portuguese control of Bahrain in 1521.
• Bastarda - Ottoman control of Basra in 1546
• Baghla: Rahma bin Jaber – the death of its namesake in 1823
• Baghla: Isa bin Tareef – the siege of Huwailah in 1834
• HMS Vigilant – dispute between Qatar and Abu Dhabi in 1880-1882
• Zuhaf – Al Wajba battle in 1893
The tender was originally awarded in October 2018 and the installation needed to be completed in March 2019 giving us less than 6 months to complete all six models. The client explained that they had little information about each of the ships and we would therefore have to do the necessary historical research before we started production. They needed to be made exclusively from sycamore as this was the wood of the region that the real ships of Qatar were made from. The sails and flags were required to be made in wood because the client wanted the finished models to be a 3D representation of the drawings of the ships. Finally Premier Ship Models were also tasked with completing the installation of all 6 models in the museum before it was opened to the public.
Process of Work
In order to source the missing information for each of the ships we used our own team along with the assistance of an ex-curator from the Museum of London Docklands. Furthermore we produced digital renders of some of the models. The rendering process involved research as our team had to source information from different places in order to complete the renders. It was also important for demonstrating to the client what the completed model(s) would look like before we started any production.
Once the research had been completed for the relevant model we were able to prepare a report that determined our findings and instructed the client of any further questions we may or may not have had. The research report was then mutually agreed between us and the client before we started producing the model.
The models themselves were made using traditional plank on frame construction from sycamore wood. Every small detail, fixture and fitting on each of the models was made from sycamore wood. The sails were made from wood (again sycamore) and then we had to use laser etching technology to decorate each sail with the appropriate emblem.
As construction of the models progressed we provided a monthly update to the client through images and a written document. We also organised for the client to visit our workshop to see the models and provide feedback in person. We crated and packed the models and safely delivered them to Qatar where several members of our team handled the install of all six models inside the museum.
All six models were constructed, delivered and installed in the museum in time for the launch. We have included in this case study photos of the models, some of which are from during the production process. There is also a video of the opening of the museum, where you can see our models at timestamp 02:56:00.