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When his dream of establishing a sports museum was lost after the Iraqi invasion in 1990, despair did not penetrate the Kuwaiti historian, Hussein Al-Balushi, after all his possessions were lost as a result of the war.

After the liberation of Kuwait in February 1991, Al-Balushi began a new journey with the aim of converting his house into a sports museum, until today he was able to achieve his childhood dream.

Al-Balushi owns a sports museum rich in collectibles and rare historical pieces. He worked over 33 years to collect them until his house became famous and became a tourist attraction in Kuwait.

The Kuwaiti historian owns more than 10,000 pieces, some of which date back more than 100 years, which he collected over the past years, making the value of his museum reach millions of dollars.

Al-Balushi said in an interview with the “Al-Hurra” channel website, “The beginning was shy, and the number of his museum’s holdings did not exceed 3,000 pieces,” adding: “Since 2012, I have been receiving many donations after my museum achieved wide fame due to interviews in the media.”

He added: “My dream since childhood has been to collect sports collectibles in my home, and today I own a museum that includes more than 10,000 pieces related to football and other sports.”

The museum includes more than 10 thousand pieces

Thanks to his tours around the world, Al-Balushi was able to purchase many rare sports collectibles and pieces, while donations from Gulf athletes also contributed to enriching the vast basement of his house, which was turned into a museum visited by ministers, diplomats, and athletes from several countries, as he spoke in his interview.

He says: “I traveled the continents of the world searching for rare pieces… I often obtain these pieces through public auctions… Donations by Gulf athletes also contributed to increasing the museum’s stock of historical collectibles.”

Regarding the market value of the entire museum, Al-Balushi believes that determining an accurate number remains a “difficult matter,” given that the price of rare pieces is constantly rising, in addition to the museum’s need for a complete inventory, and this is not an easy task as it acquires new pieces on the increase.

He goes on to say: “Many of the existing pieces are so expensive that the first Qatari football team shirt costs $100,000… It is difficult to determine an accurate figure for the museum’s entire market value, but it may amount to one million Kuwaiti dinars (3.2 million US dollars) according to the lowest price.” Estimates.

The museum’s contents are worth millions of dollars

The oldest pieces in the Al Balushi Museum date back to 1916, after he was able to obtain an “Olympic whistle” that was used in the football competition at the Olympics in the Belgian city of Antwerp in 1920.

Al Balushi continues: “Then the old pieces follow. There are balls used in the English Premier League in 1920 and original documents for the first edition of the World Cup in 1930 in Uruguay.”

Also prominent among the rare FIFA World Cup pieces is a bronze medal dating back to the first World Cup, which Al-Balushi was able to buy at an international auction.

He points out that there are also old pieces of Gulf football dating back to the 1950s, including the shirt of the Kuwaiti Al-Oruba team.

In addition to the pieces and collectibles, Al-Balushi collects documents, photographs, and old issues of Arab and international newspapers and magazines, making part of the museum more like a historical library.

He says that he has been collecting old newspapers and magazines since he practiced the profession of sports journalism in the past, adding: “I collect these documents and papers to document information, as they are reliable sources that I can return to at any time.”

The Olympic whistle was made in 1916

Al Balushi works with officials at the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) to document the international matches of Gulf players, in addition to constant communication with the game’s organizing body to document information related to Gulf football.

However, Al Balushi faces concerns regarding what he described as the “ambiguous future” of private museums, and is also awaiting official recognition of his hobby by the state.

He continues, saying: “I am still waiting for the state to recognize my museum. It is true that my dream has come true, but I hope that my museum will be transformed into an official public place belonging to the state.”

He also fears the future of the digital revolution and the tremendous technological development that makes the future of private museums “ambiguous.”

He concludes by saying: “With technological development and the emergence of what are known as museums of the future that display collections using modern technologies, including 3D technology, this progress could eliminate traditional private museums.”

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