Art Blog

Rediscovering Beirut's Cultural Jewel: Sursock Museum Welcomes Visitors Again

Photo credit: Sursock Museum

The Sursock Museum in Beirut, Lebanon, reopened its doors to the public on February 3, 2023, after being closed for two years due to the devastating port explosion in August 2020. The museum, which is home to a collection of modern and contemporary art from the Middle East and North Africa, was severely damaged in the explosion but has since been restored to its former glory.

The reopening of the Sursock Museum is a major cultural event for Beirut and for Lebanon as a whole, as it is the oldest and largest cultural institution in the country, and its reopening is considered a sign of hope and resilience in the face of adversity.

The Sursock Museum was founded in 1961 by Nicolas Sursock, a Lebanese art collector and philanthropist. The museum's collection includes works by some of the most important artists from the Middle East and North Africa, including Paul Guiragossian, Fahrelnissa Zeid, and Abed Al Karim Helou.

Upon his death in 1952, Sursock donated his mansion to the city of Beirut, saying at the time that he wanted his country “to receive a substantial contribution of fine artworks.”


Photo credit: The museum’s façade, by Rowina BouHarb

The museum holds more than 12,000 archives on the art history of Lebanon and the region. After an extensive renovation project, the exhibition space on the first floor will celebrate the history of the museum.

Located in the heart of the city, it’s hoped its reopening will help to revitalise the area and attract visitors from all over the world, showing that the city is recovering from the devastating port explosion and is moving forward.

Newly-appointed director El Helou has highlighted the financial challenges facing the museum but has vowed to continue free access to visitors, as requested by Sursock.

Source: The National