Dubai has more museums than you may think, ranging from historic sites that tell the magical story of the Emirate’s rich history and heritage, to modern museums that give visitors a glimpse of what life was like in the early days of the United Arab Emirates. Visiting a museum in Dubai is the perfect way to learn more about the rich culture of this dynamic and ever-evolving city.
Dubai’s museums can be categorized in several ways, but the one that strikes us as the most suited is to divide them into the past, present and future, which not only plays testament to the city’s the rich history and heritage but also showcases its dynamic present and promising future.
Exploring the Past
There are many historical sites and museums to explore in Dubai if you are interested in a glimpse of what life was like in the early days in the United Arab Emirates, and even before the UAE was formed in 1971.
Not to be missed on your trip is a visit to Dubai Museum, probably the most well-known museum in Dubai. located in the heart of old Dubai close to the Creek, Dubai Museum is situated inside Al Fahidi Fort, the oldest building in town. Dubai museum first opened in 1971, the same year the United Arab Emirates was formed. Here you can learn everything about the rich history and trading heritage of the Emirates and discover the magnificent history of pearl-diving in the region.
The Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood is like a museum itself and we highly recommend spending some time exploring this important heritage site and unique historic district to get a glimpse of what life was like. Much of the original infrastructure and architecture is still intact here, including the traditional wind towers that provided air and cooling to its residents.
Another great historic site and museum in Dubai to visit is Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum House Dubai where you have the opportunity to visit a former royal residence that’s now a museum, featuring artifacts and other historical items that uncover Dubai’s rich past.
To learn more about the contemporary history and culture of the United Arab Emirates, head toThe Etihad Museum in Jumeirah. This Dubai museum features a series of interactive and multimedia displays and you can also visit the Union House here, the historic site where the constitution was signed in 1971.
Present in the moment
The rapid growth and development of Dubai has seen the city evolve in all aspects of life, including the city’s arts and culture scene. There are some great museums to visit that allow you to explore Dubai in the present, here are some highlights:
- Museum of Illusions – great for the young and the young at heart, this Dubai museum is real experience and will entertain, educate and thrill you with its many unbelievable illusions from the minute you arrive to the time you leave. It’s an Instagram-worthy spot too so make sure to bring your camera!
- Not strictly a museum in Dubai, but a hot, hip and happening district that features some of the city’s best art galleries and shops, Al Serkal Avenue in Al Quoz is another one of Dubai’s must visit places. Here you also have the opportunity to meet some of Dubai’s best creative talent and local artists
- Also not classified as a museum in Dubai, but more than worth a visit, is the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding where you have the opportunity to get a deeper understanding of the culture and customs of the UAE – past and present- with the center’s motto: ‘Open Doors, Open Minds’. You can sign up for a guided tour of a mosque or enjoy a traditional Emirati breakfast all while learning more about Dubai’s culture.
What the future holds
Dubai’s museums don’t just focus on the past and present, but also look towards the future with several amazing new attractions coming to the city very soon. Here are two new museums to look out for on your next visit:
- Museum of the Future – Located in a striking and iconic new building on Sheik Zayed Road, this museum is set to become a showcase for a new era and a center of hope and creativity
- Terra- The Sustainability Pavilion will be part of Expo 2020 Dubai in 2021 and is dedicated to the future, protection and preservation of the Earth