Abu Dhabi: The Department of Culture and Tourism — Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) signed an agreement with the British Museum on Wednesday renaming a gallery in the British Museum after Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founding father of the UAE.
Building upon the long history of cooperation and collaboration between the two organisations, and in a fitting tribute to Shaikh Zayed’s legacy, ‘The Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Gallery for Europe and the Middle East’ explores the history of farming in the Middle East and the resulting social, cultural, and economic progress that formed the modern world.
The agreement was signed by Mohammad Khalifa Al Mubarak, chairman of DCT Abu Dhabi, and Hartwig Fischer, director of the British Museum, and attended by Saif Saeed Gobash, undersecretary of DCT Abu Dhabi; Sulaiman Hamid Al Mazroui, UAE Ambassador to the UK; and Sir Richard Lambert, chairman of the Trustees of the British Museum, in a ceremony held at the British Museum in London.
Al Mubarak said: “In this year, the Year of Zayed, as we come together as a nation to celebrate the legacy of the founding father, we see no more of a fitting tribute to his cultural vision for the UAE and his mission to build bridges between nations across the world.”
He noted that the renaming of this gallery that explores the history and heritage of the Middle East, and the lasting impact that an industry can have on the world, highlights the significant role that Shaikh Zayed played in the preservation and protection of our unique cultural heritage, “We are delighted to build upon our long history of collaboration with the British Museum as part of DCT Abu Dhabi’s mission to establish lasting cultural partnerships with leading institutions worldwide.”
Fischer said: “We are honoured that DCT Abu Dhabi has chosen to name the gallery after Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan. The British Museum is about the interconnectivity of cultures, and this gallery shows the impact of the introduction of farming in the Middle East and its spread to Europe, thereby shaping the modern world. This support is a reflection of the long-standing collaborative relationship we share with DCT Abu Dhabi and is all the more significant in this important year for the UAE.”
The renaming of the gallery after Shaikh Zayed acknowledges the UAE leader’s lifelong commitment to heritage and culture. An active supporter of the first archaeological excavations in the emirates over 50 years ago, he was responsible for the founding of the Al Ain Museum, the oldest in the UAE,
Located on the upper floor of the British Museum, the Shaikh Zayed gallery explores the development of farming between 10,000BC and 800BC.
This agreement builds upon the British Museum’s history of collaboration with DCT Abu Dhabi. Since 2009, DCT Abu Dhabi has worked collaboratively with the British Museum on the development of Zayed National Museum, the centrepiece of Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Cultural District supporting the development of the museum’s narrative, collection, and resources training. In addition to the renaming of the gallery after Shaikh Zayed, the agreement will also include the development of a loan framework that will see important objects from the British Museum be exhibited at Zayed National Museum upon its opening. The unique objects will be on display, complementing the future museum’s permanent collection.