This late-19th century palace, Dar Mnebbi, started out as home to Mehdi Mnebbi, defence minister to Moulay Abdelziz; when he became Moroccan ambassador to London, he sold it to T'hami El Glaoui, Pasha of Marrakesh, and, on 1956 independence, the palace was taken over by the state. It operated as a girls’ school for a while but then, sadly, it was badly neglected until c1995 when a patron of the arts, Omar Benjoullan, acquired it for restoration. In March 1997, to much fanfare, the palace re-opened, this time as the Marrakech Museum.
The old kitchen area (douiria) has been transformed and now houses various permanent displays of jewellery, Arabic calligraphy (including several early Korans) and also more temporary, contemporary Moroccan art and sculpture. (Regrettably, the sign-posting is almost exclusively in Arabic, with some paintings titled in French). You can wander at will, rest awhile in the comfy chairs scattered around the quite spectacular main inner courtyard, whose tiled floor and columns and ornately carved niches are at once restful and exciting, or visit the old palace hamman (now also used for exhibiting paintings and sculpture), which is marked up for the various old changing rooms, cold room/warm room/hot room/resting and massage room.
When finally you’re done, there’s a bookshop selling guidebooks, keyfobs, etc. and postcards, and café outside in a picturesque court-yard, which was originally the stables area (though it’s fairly pricy by Marrakech standards at 16dh for a coffee). There are also young and up-coming local artists exhibited here. Guided tours are available if you ask when you buy your tickets.
Open until 6pm each day. Tickets 30dh. More details at firstname.lastname@example.org