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Deservedly the country's most popular attraction, this is an outstanding introduction to Bahrain's history, with signage in English and Arabic. It's housed in a postmodern building on the waterfront, and the lower floor displays the archaeological finds of ancient Dilmun, the Hall of Graves and Bahrain's customs and traditions, where the south Asian impact on clothing is remarkably apparent. Upstairs, there are exhibits on the Tylos and Islamic periods, historic manuscripts and a delightful reproduction of a traditional souq.
The museum also has a temporary exhibition hall and an art gallery where displays periodically change. But arguably one of the most popular spaces, certainly with resident expat women, is the excellent museum cafe. Spacious, chic and comfortable, it has a first-rate terrace looking across the bay to the stunning Bahrain National Theatre. The museum is also where you buy tickets for the Qalat Bu Mahir Ferry to visit the Qalat Bu Mahir fort on Muharraq Island.