The long-awaited Museum of the Future is set to open its doors on Tuesday. Organisers have kept details of the museum’s contents a mystery so far and its goals for its programming have remained largely broad, covering climate change, ecology, health, space travel and art.
Once it opens, the museum will not only join the list of the UAE’s growing list of attractions, but will also be part of its museum roster. With the new entry celebrating its opening, here are other UAE museums that are worth a visit:
Louvre Abu Dhabi
Versailles and the World is Louvre Abu Dhabi’s first international exhibition of 2022. All photos: Khushnum Bhandari / The National
Known for its stunning architecture, Louvre Abu Dhabi has worked on embedding itself into the local art community for the past four years. Not only does it have its own permanent collection of more than 630 artworks and artefacts, the museum has also been steadily expanding its educational resources, from creating a digital archive of its collection to launching a resource centre for students, researchers and professors in late 2021.
Louvre Abu Dhabi’s current exhibition, Versailles and the World, considers the historic palace in France as a starting point for explorations on the historical and artistic shifts of the 17th and 18th centuries.
Jameel Arts Centre
What started as a project space in Alserkal Avenue has now become one of the key places in Dubai to see contemporary art. Privately funded by the Jameel family of Saudi Arabia, the Jameel Arts Centre sits on the edge of Al Jadaf and looks out onto the Dubai Creek.
An independent institution, the contemporary art museum has been responsible for bringing many international artists and their works to the UAE, as well as establishing a library and developing public programmes that create crucial dialogue within the local artistic community.
In March, the museum will present solo shows by Pakistani artist Fahd Burki and Russian artist Taus Makhacheva, in addition to site-specific commissions and a community learning programme on the region’s urban histories.
Sharjah Art Museum
‘Three Women and a Palm Tree’ (1947) by Baya. Collection of Ramzi and Saeda Dalloul Art Foundation. Courtesy Sharjah Art Museum
Sharjah has no shortage of arts and culture organisations, from the Sharjah Art Foundation and the Sharjah Architecture Triennial to The Africa Institute. In addition to this, the Sharjah Museums Authority runs more than 15 museums in the emirate dedicated to the arts, heritage and entertainment.
Among its most prominent spaces is the Sharjah Art Museum, which was established in 1997. It houses works by significant modern and contemporary Arab artists as part of its permanent display, and it also has temporary exhibitions, including its upcoming major retrospective on Lebanese painter Aref El Rayess, which opens at the end of the month.
Al Ain Palace Museum
An important historical site for the UAE, Al Ain Palace was the home of Sheikh Zayed, Founding Father of the UAE. The ruler lived in the palace with his family until the late 1960s before moving to Abu Dhabi to become the emirate’s ruler.
Within the sprawling complex are a series of buildings, the oldest of which dates back to 1937 when the ruling family moved in. In 1998, the palace was converted into a museum and opened to the public in 2001. Inside its 37 rooms, visitors can glimpse at how the ruling family used to live with display of personal items and its interiors that have been maintained to look as they did when it was a royal residence.
In terms of location, the Etihad Museum’s is quite historic. The uniquely shaped structure, with its delicately curved roof was designed by Canadian architects Moriyama and Teshima and is found on same grounds as the Union House, where the UAE constitution was signed in 1971.
Inside, the museum takes highlights from UAE history and tells the story of the country through interactive displays and pavilions. The museum’s timeline focuses on 1968 and 1974, and it also displays curious items and personal belongings from each of the seven rulers that established the UAE.
Currently, the museum is showcasing works from the Dubai Collection, an initiative between Art Dubai and Dubai Culture that seeks to promote art patronage in the country. The first exhibition by the Dubai Collection features artworks from the private collections of 11 collectors, including Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai.
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