The Heritage Collection (previously known as Heritage Library) is a unique contribution to Qatar’s cultural landscape. The collection started with H.E. Sheikh Hassan bin Mohammed bin Ali al-Thani at the beginning of 1980s. He wanted the wealth of historical sources about Qatar to be accessible, including writings by travellers and explorers who visited the Arabian Gulf region. This vision developed to incorporate rare and valuable texts and manuscripts related to the Arab-Islamic civilization. In 2000 the collection was transferred to the National Council for Culture, Arts and Heritage, and in 2006 the library joined Qatar Foundation for Education, Science, and Community Development. In 2011 the collection became an integral part of the Qatar National Library. Preparations are underway to relocate this unique collection in its own purpose-built location within the new National Library building in Education City.
The growing collection includes books and periodicals in many European languages, early Arabic printed materials, such as books, journals, magazines and newspapers, Arabic manuscripts, maps and globes, as well as instruments and tools related to travel and a selection of early photography. A number of the printed materials date back to the 15th century when the printing process has been introduced in Europe, and these antiquarian books are some of the most valuable and rare features of the collection.