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Nicolas Ibrahim Sursock Museum

The Sursock Museum is the first modern and contemporary art institution in Lebanon.

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Visual Art

The Nicolas Ibrahim Sursock Museum is the first modern and contemporary art museum in the Arab world. It opened officially its doors in 1961 thanks to a bequest of Nicolas Ibrahim Sursock, a philanthropist and a collector, who donated to the Lebanese citizens his Ottoman-Venetian style villa, built in 1912, and art collection. The Museum survived the turmoil in Beirut and has been open to the public for the last six decades with few interruptions.
Throughout its history, it lived through many tribulations. The various armed conflicts and tensions in Lebanon left quite a few scars. Healing has been long and arduous.

Today, we are grateful for being able to celebrate the recovery of our cherished institution.
Soon after the Beirut blast on August 4, 2020, we started the rehabilitation of the museum, without the assurance that we would secure all the necessary funds.
The solidarity of volunteers, local and international institutions as well as individual friends, enabled us to reopen in May 2023.
We are so pleased to give the Sursock Museum back to the Lebanese and to the
international friends of Lebanon.
Increasing numbers of visitors and participants in our diverse activities are a source of energy and renewed dynamism.During the different phases of its history, it strived to be faithful to its calling: an inclusive space of encounter, education, innovation and cooperation. More concentrated efforts are ahead of us.

The museum's new programming wants to engage with a diverse and wider public today. With its exhibition spaces, public library, auditorium, the Sursock Museum will continue to be a safe space for cultural dialogue, critical thinking and free expression. It is a platform for continuous learning, formative of future generations of art and cultural professionals, and we will continue to do so without compromising on quality, in dialogue at eye-level with international institutions.

Following the will of Nicolas Ibrahim Sursock, the Nicolas Ibrahim Sursock Museum with its building and art collection, was constituted in the form of a Waqf on 14 January 1953.
(The Waqf is not too dissimilar to the western legal form of Trust or Foundation). The role of custodian of the Waqf, the mutawali, was assigned to the president of the municipality of Beirut, regardless of which political regime exists at the time.

Before the crisis, the museum's activities were mostly financed by a tax on building permits levied by the Beirut Municipality. It now covers less than 2 per cent of our expenses.

This is our new challenge: financing this vital institution to survive amid complete financial collapse. With our board of trustees, our circle of friends and future supporters, will do so while still offering free access to art.

We cannot overstate the significance of your engagement with the Sursock Museum. Your support is vital.
Today, supporting the museum is not an act of charity, it is an act of necessity!
Your support is vital.