Nicolas Sursock was a well-known member of the aristocratic Sursock family and an avid art collector. Following his death in 1952, his mansion became what is now the famous Nicolas Ibrahim Sursock Museum – a contemporary and modern art museum located in Achrafiyeh, Beirut. Much needed at the time, Nicolas’ motive was to endorse, support and promote Lebanese and International artists by exhibiting and showcasing their work in the space provided.

The Sursock Museum first opened in 1961 with the Salon d’Automne Exhibition showcasing new art the time. In 2008, however, the museum was further developed and expanded with a five-year-long renovation project intended to establish it as a state-of-the-art cultural institution. Four underground floors were added beneath the garden which increased the museum’s surface area from 1,500 square meters to 8,500 square meters. The renovation project added additional spaces for the Sursock Museum’s permanent collection and temporary exhibitions, a large auditorium, a detailed research library, a restoration workshop to revive old works, as well as, a store and restaurant.

Even though the Sursock Museum underwent a major renovation project, it still holds important aspects of the mansion’s history. The first floor’s original vintage tiles are still present today and take us back to the popular Lebanese architecture of the early 1940s. The famous Salon Arabe, where Nicolas Sursock was known to greet his guests, is also still intact. Some of the hand-carved woodwork imported from Damascus at the time still hangs on some of the walls and ceilings until today as well.

With over ten exhibitions a year including shows, talks, screenings and workshops by emerging and established artists, the Sursock Museum aims to challenge its audience in news ways by encouraging the experimentation of arts and ideas. An online calendar is constantly updated making it easy for visitors to stay informed on upcoming events. A guide may also be booked ahead of time in order for visitors to experience a more comprehensive tour.

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