The kingdom of U.A.E has roots dating back thousands of years – back to when Bedouin traders would stop off to rest beside Dubai Creek – and the emirate’s diverse museums provide a great way to learn this history. Today, there is an ever-growing number of museums in the region ranging from traditional history museums to art galleries and private collections now open to the public. We’ve selected 10 of these amazing places!
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Abu Dhabi Art Hub is the first artist-run community in the UAE and a true oasis of artistic development in the Middle East. Defining itself as a ‘platform for interaction and cross-cultural artistic exchanges between national, regional and international artists’, the Art Hub is a space destined to ‘live, create, exhibit’.
Alserkal Avenue, Dubai
Established in 2008, the Avenue is now a vibrant, thriving community comprising galleries, cafes, co-working hubs, creative offices and performance spaces. The 15-plus gallery spaces in the district cover everything from sculpture to paintings, photography, music and classic cars.
Dubai Design District, Dubai
Dubai Design District – or d3 as it’s known – is a rare chance to see an artistic enclave evolve from its infancy. The purpose-built area broke ground in 2015 as a place to foster the talents of the region’s emerging designers and creative professionals, and as such, is a place where fashion, art, design and performance intersect.
Etihad Modern Art Gallery
One of most dynamic art galleries in Abu Dhabi, Etihad Modern Art is not to be missed while exploring the city’s top art venues. Aspiring to promote local art and encourage the growth of the UAE’s art scene, the gallery showcases the works of acclaimed, but also emerging international and regional artists such as Ufuc Kobas, Svilen Petrov, Sattar Kawoosh or Khalid Al Najjad.
Etihad Museum, Dubai
This museum in UAE has large halls, an education area, recreational spaces and administrative offices along with eight permanent galleries. They host frequent exhibitions that are experience-driven while their many programmes are quite interactive. The entrance of the Etihad Museum is quite memorable as it is shaped like a manuscript with seven columns.
Enjoying a splendid location, Gallery One is a landmark cultural venue in Abu Dhabi. The gallery has previously hosted the works of acclaimed artists such as Wissam Shawkatt, Helen Abbas, Tariq Dajani, James Dominé, Khalid Shaheen and Paul Sheldon – but also exhibitions focusing particularly on art from the region, such as The Arts of Islam: Treasures of the Nasser D. Khalili Collection.
Louvre, Abu Dhabi
This is the first Louvre to open outside Paris and was opened in Abu Dhabi in November 2017. It is designed like a shallow dome that houses 600 artworks and artefacts offering a glimpse into the history of the world and its many religions. The Louvre in Abu Dhabi was designed by award-winning architect Jean Nouvel. The exhibitions are maintained in chronological order to encourage dialogue between the pieces, despite their different cultural contexts.
Pearl Museum, Dubai
Established in 2003, this museum is home to the world’s largest collection of saltwater pearls. It celebrates the history and tradition of pearling in the UAE. The museum celebrates pearl divers and sailors and has a large collection of equipment and maps used to harvest these pearls. It was established by late Sultan Al Owais.
Sharjah Art Area, Sharjah
Sharjah may be a relative unknown compared to the Emirates’ heavyweights, but it’s the only UAE city to be named Cultural Capital of the Arab world, and is home to a buzzing arts and culture district just a half an hour’s drive from Downtown Dubai.