The museum draws much influence from ancient Islamic architecture yet has a unique design. It was the first of its kind in the Persian Gulf and has a very large collection of Islamic art, plus a study, a library, and several restaurants. Sabiha Al Khemir served as the founding director of the museum from 2006-2008. The museum has a total area of 45,000 m2 and lies on the edge of Doha harbour at the south end of Doha Bay. Construction by Baytur Constr.Co. (Turkey), of the structure reached completion in 2006, but the interior was subjected to a variety of changes thereafter. The museum celebrated its VIP opening on November 22, 2008, and opened to the general public on December 1, 2008.