Amricani Cultural Centre

DAR AL-ATHAR AL-ISLAMIYYAH

Amricani Cultural Centre (ACC)

This is the Amricani Cultural Centre, Amricani for short. The Amricani was built by the Dutch Reformed Church of America in the early 20th century as a hospital. The local people called it “Mustashfaa Amricani”. Out of respect for the history of the p;ace, we kept “Amricani”.

History
The graceful buildings facing the sea in Kuwait City reflect the commitment to community in the country’s past and future. From medical buildings to cultural facilities, the buildings that make up the Al Amricani Cultural Centre have served the people of Kuwait since the early 20th century.

The Amricani compound was originally developed in between 1911 and 1913. The original buildings included a men’s hospital, women’s dispensary and some administrative offices. A women’s hospital was added in the 1930s and a new men’s hospital was completed in the 1940s. The hospitals were staffed by individuals from the US, Europe and Kuwait. Most of the western employees came as missionaries, regardless of their role in the hospital. Many of the Kuwaitis were hired for entry level positions and trained to fill more advanced roles. In fact, one young man, Haider Khalifa, was hired as an orderly when he was in his teens. He was trained as a radiographer, then a hospital administrator and when the hospitals closed, he became instrumental in the operation of Kuwait’s public hospitals.

The American Mission Hospitals were closed in 1967, when the Kuwait government had established sufficient public hospitals to serve the community. After a period of rehabilitation and renovation, the buildings were re-animated as a cultural centre and museum.

Today, the buildings continue to serve the community. The former women’s hospital, the Olcott Building, is the home of the Dar al-Athar al-Islamiyyah administrative offices and community-oriented exhibition space. The larger building, originally the men’s hospital and named for Dr Stanley Mylrea,, includes exhibition space, an education wing, a conservation lab, and a theatre

To read more about the American Mission Hospitals, Please click here

What to do at Amricani Cultural Centre

Today the Amricani host four exhibitions: Story of Amricani, a multi-media presentation that tells the history of “Mustashfaa Amricani”; Al-Fann: Art from the Islamic Civilization in The al-Sabah Collection, featuring magnificent objects provide a survey of art from the early Islamic period through the great dynasties; Mirrored Nature: The Full Circle in The Nasser al-Sabah Collection, an exhibition created and executed by children ages 6 – 10 that uses art to depict life cycles of a variety of natural wonders; and MAK: Modern Architecture Kuwait, an exhibition of developments in architecture from the 1949 to 1989.

The centre hosts temporary visiting exhibitions in the dedicated H Gallery, expanding the art-related opportunities for people in Kuwait. A large fully equipped theatre allows the Amricani to host relevant activities, for both the Dar al-Athar al-Islamiyyah (DAI) and other community organisations. Breakout rooms adjacent to the theatre provide compfortable meeting and workshop space. A dedicated “warsha” hosts ongoing education activities for children and, less regularly, for adults. There is a small children’s library, which hosts Mommy and Me programmes, story time and other literacy activities. A museum shop, featuring items inspired by objects in The al-Sabah Collection can be found near the entrance to the exhibitions. Finally, it also hosts the administrative home of the Dar al-Athar al-Islamiyyah.

Exhibitions and Events

Plan a Visit

Admission to the museum is free. The exhibitions are open throughout the day and drop in visitors, including families with young children, are welcome. The building is accessible and the exhibitions themselves are laid out to accommodate wheelchairs and strollers. Descriptions of the exhibitions and objects are included in each gallery, making self-guided visits both informative and entertaining.

If you would like to schedule a group visit, with a tour, please send a name and contact information to:
visitors@darmuseum.org.kw

If you would like to speak with someone regarding a classroom programme/visit, please email
education@darmuseum.org.kw

Contact Information

The Amricani Cultural Centre is located on the Gulf Road in Kuwait City’s Qibla district. We are included on Maps and Google Maps, by searching “Amricani Cultural Centre”.
Phone: +965 2240 0992
Fax: +965 2246 7770

The hours are:
Office hours: Sunday – Thursday, 8:00 am – 1:30 pm
Museum hours: Monday – Thursday and Saturday, 10:00 am – 7:00 pm.
Friday, 2:00 – 7:00 PM
Museum Shop hours: Sunday – Thursday, 9:00 am – 3.00 pm
Events: 7:00 pm (unless otherwise noted)