This Museum houses around 120 manuscripts and rare books in a multitude of languages including Arabic and Latin. Additionally, two original pieces of the Kiswa (decorative black brocade cover, embroidered in gold with Quranic verses) of the Holy Kaaba adorn the walls above the Islamic manuscripts. Visitors can review the electronic publications of the Manuscript Center applying state-of-the-art digital techniques on touch-screen computers. This program enables the user to review any given manuscript, browse its different pages, magnify the desired part, and listen to related commentary and explanation. The Manuscript Museum currently houses the following sections:
Rare Collections Section
Rare collections cover all remarkable and unique items within the BA's holdings including: original manuscripts, early printed books, maps, antique coins, celebrities' personal effects, exceptional donations presented to the Library, momentous documents and other rarities. The section houses a number of units and specialized work groups. It also includes two reading rooms dedicated to researchers and postgraduate students. The first (B1) houses thousands of original manuscripts as well as printed references on heritage. The second room is allocated for rare books and special collections.
Microform is a felicitous medium for the preservation of rare manuscripts, printed materials and documents against potential loss or damage resulting from excessive circulation and age, not to mention increasing their accessibility and circulation without direct contact with the originals.The BA obtained microfilms of rare manuscripts and documents (c. 30 thousand manuscripts, and 50 thousand documents), significant among which are the microfilms of the manuscript collections in the Escorial Library as well as the manuscript collections of T?bingen University (Germany).
The Section also comprises comprehensive and exclusive collections of national and Arabic newspapers, serving as a historical register of important events, as well as rare documents. All microform collections are now available for consultation in the Microfilm Reading Room.
Museographic Display Section
The Gallery is located in B1, in the center of the Library. The visitors can review the electronic publications of the Manuscript Center (MsC) prepared using state-of-the-art digital techniques, such as the Virtual Reality Browser, selections from the Digital Manuscript Library and others that run on touch-screen computers.