The Petra Museum stands next to the Visitor Center at the entrance to the Petra Archaeological Park. This is a great place to see some of the most important finds made at Petra and learn more about the site's fascinating history.
Visitors love to explore and discover the hidden mysteries of the Lost City through the museum's chronological exhibitions - from the Stone Age to the present day. Allow enough time to visit the (air-conditioned) museum before or after you enter the archaeological site to see the famous Petra Treasury; it will make your visit much more interesting.
Pro Tip: There is an excellent museum store if you’d prefer to get your souvenirs from a shop rather than a street vendor.
This museum is sometimes called the “new” Petra Museum because an earlier museum once stood inside the archaeological park. Work began on the Petra Museum in 2014 and it was completed in 2019. The museum is run by the Petra Development and Tourism Region Authority in collaboration with the Japanese Government. The museum was made possible thanks to a $7 million grant from Japan and the modern museum building was designed by Japanese architect Yamashita Sekkei.
You’ll find the museum about 1.6km from the center of Wadi Musa, at the entrance to the Petra Archaeological Park next to the ticket office. It is about a 3-hour drive from Amman. The museum is open seven days a week.
Pro Tip: The museum stays open later than the archeological park so it is best to visit the museum after your time at the archaeological site of Petra.
All of the galleries in the Petra Archaeological Museum are on the same level and with ramps so that the place is accessible to all visitors. Information is displayed in Arabic, English, and Japanese.
The museum explains Nabataean history through eight galleries. each displaying a part of Petra’s history - with about 3,000 artifacts on display. The exhibits will show you what made the Nabatean culture so great, why it settled in Petra, and how it eventually declined. Don't Miss the computer-generated imagery showing how the iconic Treasury was built.
Not all the artifacts are from Petra; some have been excavated from surrounding areas. In addition to the Nabataean history and culture, you can also see Greco-Roman sculptures found in the region. Many of the pieces on display have only recently been discovered. See historic photographs from the explorers who first rediscovered Petra after the city had been “lost” for centuries.
Learn about Bedouin culture through traditional clothing, textiles, utensils, and detailed written explanations. The newest section of the museum is the Petra Life Exhibition for Traditional Heritage. Here you can experience the Bedouin way of life in a Bedouin tent, and see household items, pots, pans, agricultural equipment, traditional crafts such as weaving, and the system of weights and measures.
Learn about the traditional medication and aromatic herbs used by the people of Petra, and about their annual celebrations. The museum gives you a glimpse into the people of Petra and Wadi Musa then and now, preserving and presenting cultural heritage elements to tourists.
Pro Tip: You don’t need a guide to visit the museum but it is worth using the audio guides that are available for 40 of the artifacts on display.