About this place

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.

The Petra Museum (by Davide Mauro CC BY-SA 4.0)

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.

History of the Petra Archaeological Museum

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. 

Where is the New Petra Museum?

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.

The Museum also holds art representing structures such as The Petra Monastery pictured here

What to See at and Do the Petra Museum

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 Rise and Fall of the Nabataean Civilization

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. 

Bedouin Culture and Heritage

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. 

A Hellenistic exhibit in the Museum of Petra

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.

Plan Your Visit

  • Opening Times: The Petra Archaeological Museum is open April to October from 08:30-20:30 and November to March from 08:30-19:30. The museum closes for 6 days a year for maintenance. 
  • Prices: Admission to the Petra Museum is free. Pro Tip: Even though the museum is free, you still have to pay to enter the archaeological site at Petra. Buy the Jordan Pass for a discounted admission ticket to Petra or join a Petra tour for free entry.
  • Average Visit Duration: The average time spent at the Petra Museum is 30-60min.
  • Popular Times: Visit the museum before or after you enter the archaeological park. Pro Tip: As the museum stays open longer than the park, visit the museum at the end of the day. Alternatively, you could take advantage of the museum's air-conditioning and visit at the hottest time of day.
  • Special Events: The museum shows occasional temporary exhibits on loan from other archeology museums.
  • Relevant Tours: On a one-day tour of Petra you will see the museum and some of Petra's hotspots, but not much else; If you take a two-day Petra tour you could see MUCH more, such as the amazing Petra MonasteryQasr Al-Bint temple, The Colonnaded Street, and include the Petra by Night show. With a Petra tour from Tel Aviv, you’ll see two countries on one trip.