Press Release Interactive Arabic Alphabet Exhibit Opens at National Children’s Museum

press release

Interactive Arabic Alphabet Exhibit Opens at National Children’s Museum

December 16, 2021

The Museum partners with Qatar Foundation to celebrate U.S.-Qatar 2021 Year of Culture with Dec. 18, 2021 – Feb. 21, 2022 exhibit run.

This winter, National Children’s Museum will host a special interactive experience, “Alif Ba Exhibition,” which invites children and families to explore the Arabic alphabet through 28 hands-on letter displays. The “Alif Ba Exhibition”—named for the Arabic term for the “ABCs”— is produced by Qatar Foundation in celebration of the U.S.-Qatar 2021 Year of Culture, and runs at National Children’s Museum from Dec. 18, 2021, through Feb. 21, 2022. 

Featuring 28 large letter representations, “Alif Ba Exhibition” will provide visitors an opportunity to touch the letters that make up the Huruf al-Abjadia (or, letters of the alphabet), to listen to the sound of each harf (or, letter), to discover Arabic words that begin with those letters, and to practice writing or tracing the Huruf al-Abjadia. The exhibit promotes cultural partnership and helps expand visitors’ understanding and appreciation of language and communication. 

“The Years of Culture annual cultural exchange program run by Qatar Museums is something that Qatar Foundation — as a culturally diverse organization that empowers youth, provides and delivers quality education, and is a custodian of the Arabic language, culture, heritage, and knowledge — is proud to support,” said Aysha Al-Mudahka, Director of Strategic Initiatives and Partnership Development, Qatar Foundation.

“The program enables us to explore, learn about, and form connections with other cultures, and to share our own Qatari culture with people from around the world, all in the name of spreading knowledge and fostering bonds of cultural understanding. The ‘Alif Ba Exhibition’ is a great way of sharing the beauty, richness, and relevance of the Arabic language with a U.S. audience, in a fun and engaging way, and it reflects how the Years of Culture program brings people together and broadens minds and perspectives.”

Each year, Qatar Museums runs a cultural exchange program that helps promote international collaboration and share Qatari culture. Through a variety of exhibitions, festivals, and events, the programs promote mutual understanding, recognition, and appreciation between countries. They invite people to explore their cultural similarities, as well as their differences. In 2021, the United States and Qatar are celebrating their collaboration.

“National Children’s Museum is thrilled to partner with Qatar Foundation to celebrate the U.S.-Qatar 2021 Year of Culture and bring ‘Alif Ba Exhibition’ to audiences in Washington, D.C.,” said Crystal R. Bowyer, president + CEO of National Children’s Museum. “The Museum believes that promoting global cultural education and cross-cultural partnership is a critical strategy to fulfill its mission to inspire children to care about and change the world.” 

The exhibit opens on Dec. 18, 2021, which coincides with Qatar National Day and World Arabic Language Day. To recognize the occasion, the Museum has partnered with Qatar Foundation International (QFI) to host a festival of programming that includes an exploration of calligraphy, Arab music, yoga, virtual tile making, storytelling, and more. 

Additionally, throughout the winter, families can enjoy the following special cultural programs led by Arabic language educators and produced by QFI that complement the exhibit. 

Arabic Animal Name Yoga (Jan. 14 & 15, 2022): Visitors are invited to come on an imaginary adventure to the farm, where they will wiggle and breathe while learning Arabic animal names together! All ages are welcome, but this program will be particularly meaningful for ages 3 – 6. More information is available here.

Arabic Calligraphy (Jan. 29 & 30, 2022): Visitors are invited to learn how to draw beautiful, ancient Arabic calligraphy. All ages are welcome. More information is available here.

Darbuka Drumming (Feb. 12 & 13, 2022): Visitors are invited to get in the groove and join in on an authentic Darbuka drumming session, where they will learn more about Arabic music and instruments. All ages are welcome, but this program will be particularly meaningful for ages 5 – 9. More information is available here.

To learn more about the exhibit and reserve tickets for its opening on Dec. 18 or beyond, visitors can navigate to the Museum’s website at The Museum is open Thursday – Sunday for two timed sessions, 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and 1:30-4:30 p.m. Please note that to enter the Museum and visit the “Alif Ba Exhibition,” adults (18+) must be accompanied by a child. National Children’s Museum organizes special visits to members of the press, and visits can be arranged for media interested in experiencing the exhibit. Please contact Meredith Hamme [email protected] for more information.


Alif Ba Exhibition
Dec. 18, 2021 – Feb. 21, 2022

National Children’s Museum
1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20004

Qatar Foundation – Unlocking Human Potential

Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF) is a non-profit organization that supports Qatar on its journey to becoming a diversified and sustainable economy. QF strives to serve the people of Qatar and beyond by providing specialized programs across its innovation-focused ecosystem of education, research and development, and community development.

QF was founded in 1995 by His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the Father Amir, and Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, who shared the vision to provide Qatar with quality education. Today, QF’s world-class education system offers lifelong learning opportunities to community members as young as six months through to doctoral level, enabling graduates to thrive in a global environment and contribute to the nation’s development.

QF is also creating a multidisciplinary innovation hub in Qatar, where homegrown researchers are working to address local and global challenges. By promoting a culture of lifelong learning and fostering social engagement through programs that embody Qatari culture, QF is committed to empowering the local community and contributing to a better world for all.

For a complete list of QF’s initiatives and projects, please visit:

For any media inquiries, please contact: [email protected]

About Qatar Foundation International

Qatar Foundation International (QFI) is an educational organization committed to advancing Arabic language teaching and learning. QFI supports innovative, research-based Arabic language programs in state funded primary and secondary schools and works to increase access to Arabic instruction for educators and students around the world. QFI currently supports programs in Austria, Canada, Germany, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. QFI operational headquarters is in Washington, DC. QFI began operations in 2009 and is a member of the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development.

About National Children’s Museum

National Children’s Museum is a unique hybrid institution that combines learning elements found in a science center with children’s museum experiences. Through hands-on science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) based exhibits, programs, and virtual offerings, the Museum sparks curiosity and ignites creativity for children under the age of twelve and their families. Since February 2020, the Museum has reached more than 1 million people through in-person and digital initiatives. Learn more on how to visit the Museum and engage with virtual STEAM resources at