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Visiting Kuwait’s Bait Al Othman Museum: The Old Kuwait

I only recently started visiting the Bait Al Othman Museum and I love going back. The museum itself is large and we picked up on heaps of new details and pieces of information with each visit. There’s just a great deal to see and notice.

There was something eery about us being the only visitors in the museum. For as long as we paid the museum a visit (four times), we were always alone having the museum entirely to ourselves whether in the mornings or evenings. My presumptions tell me that either everyone has already been to the museum or they’re just not that interested in Kuwait’s history as much as we are! The museum has been around for 10 years.

As you first enter the gateway (1KD for a ticket), you are greeted with a big square of what resembles an indoor courtyard encircled with Kuwaiti shops of the past. To your right you will also see a cute souvenir shop upon entry which I highly recommend to look through. We once purchased a big lidded KDD Chocolate Milk (favourite childhood drink) box and now store candies inside. If you’re looking for a great souvenir of Kuwait, this is probably one of the best little shops.

A couple of handmade dioramas of old Kuwaiti craftsmanships

A small old Kuwaiti dhow also stands in the courtyard and you can get onboard and have a look at it inside.

This is not a diorama! This is actually a life-sized replica of an old convenience store (baqala in Arabic)

A couple of full-scale models of old Kuwait shops are on view around the courtyard. I loved looking through all the details of the items.

The courtyard has several entryways and paths that take you to different sections of the museum. Each portion or division itself hosts several rooms displaying the history of it. A couple of examples are military(and professions), media rooms/ministry of information, pearl-diving and fishing, family life, and there’s even a scientific area with taxidermies and preservations. For a first time visit, it could get a little confusing with all the twists and turns around the museum. Even on our third visit, there were rooms we stumbled upon that we hadn’t seen the first or second times. There is a lot to discover and many antique items.

Coffee cups and “dallahs” which are the coffee jugs
A diwaniya setting at home, which is a reception/gathering where men receive male guests to converse over tea or coffee.
A traditional door
A model of an outdoor set up of what would typically be found in an old Kuwaiti home in the courtyard.
The educational section of the museum
What a crib looked like in a Kuwaiti home in the past
Barber shop

The entire pearl-diving room is built in such a way that you’re walking around an old ship, which is a cool touch. I also liked how some of the rooms are filled with audio and sound effects, like divers singing the songs of the sea.

The pearl-diving and sea-faring section showcased divers’ clothes, tools, and pearls. Before the discovery of oil, Kuwait rose from humble beginnings and initially sustained itself with pearl-diving which peaked and thrived between 1895 and 1915. The dependence on pearls eventually waned after the invention of the cultured pearl and the oil boom.

Some retro national posters of the Gulf War between 1990-1991
The media room

A section of the museum covered the Ministry of Information and the shows and programs that used to be broadcasted on Kuwait TV.

The room displays several screens featuring a playback of famous local “masrahiyas”, which are popular drama theatres. The room also showcases the costumes worn by national icons during their theatrical performances in the 80’s as well as in cinema. There’s also a real life display of what the old Kuwait TV studio rooms looked like.

An old candy shop where you can purchase nostalgic childhood candy and crisps.

The Camping Section

There’s an entire space dedicated to camping as well. The place looks like it’s housed in a large tent and has birds and quails running around too.


The taxidermy section was also interesting. The two floors have several rooms accommodating various animals on display.

Preserved insects
Scientific disections

Haunted House!

There’s a hallway that also leads to a haunted room (which is cheesy).

And that wraps up this blog post! There is a lot more to see at the museum and I shared only portions of it. I highly recommend visiting the place if you would like a thorough look at Kuwait before the discovery of oil. It’s a national treasure!

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