Image Credit: Gulf News

The UAE is one of the most important, historical and cultural countries in the Middle East. As it rapidly evolves into the fast-paced and futuristic country that you see around you today, we’re taking you back in time with this ultimate guide of museums and our picks of the must-see artifacts within each one.


Pearl Museum

The Emirates NBD Pearl Museum was established in the year 2003 by the late Sultan Al Owais. The pearl museum is located inside the Emirates NBD bank headquarters in Deira and is home to the worlds’ largest and finest collection of saltwater pearls from the Arabian Gulf. Preservation of the UAE culture and heritage has always been a core value to Emirates NBD and was an important cause to the late Mr. Al Owais.

He started his pearl collection in the early 1970s and generously donated it to the people of the UAE under the custodianship of the National Bank of Dubai. His aim and wish was to ensure that they always remembered the heritage and life in the UAE before the discovery of oil changed everything. To better preserve this heritage, Emirates NBD built a museum where his pearl collection is currently displayed.

 In addition to being a home to over 50 kilograms of precious pearls, the museum also celebrates the colourful lives of pearl divers and sailors by displaying their instruments and tools as well as maps and diving equipment that they used to harvest and ship the pearls.

Pearl trading has a very deep rooted and rich heritage in the UAE. The world’s best natural pearls were found in oysters located in the warm and shallow Gulf waters. Since the 1500s, merchants travelled to the UAE to purchase pearls, in order to sell them all around India and Africa. The pearling industry was an important historical foundation and was the main source on which merchants of the UAE constructed their wealth. Pearl trading was not just their source of income, it was a way of life. Trading pearls was commonly done in old coffee shops, where merchants would meet to examine the pearls and negotiate sales. By the 1900s the pearl industry in the Gulf was at its peak and made up for 95 per cent of the UAE’s national income.  

Visits to the pearl museum are by appointment only and are preferred to be done by 8 to 10 people at a time.

Location: Emirates NBD Head Quarters, Deira

Cost: Free

Timings: By appointment only

Contact: 04 2012713

Dubai Museum

Opened in Dubai in 1971, the Dubai Museum aims to showcase the traditional Bedouin way of life. Located within Al Fahidi Fort, which was built in 1787, the Dubai museum housed life-size dioramas of the pre-oil era, several galleries with old maps and historical finds as old as 3000 BC. It also has a video room that shows the development of Dubai from the discovery of oil, up to the present day. The visitors of Dubai Museum’s ‘Al Fahidi Fort’ have an opportunity to get rich, full and integral knowledge of the very old history of Dubai that interacted with different people and civilizations across history. Visitors will get acquainted with the different environments of urban and rural lives in Dubai, whether they are marine, coastal, desert, mountain or agricultural life.

Location: opposite Grand Mosque on Al Fahidi Street

Cost: Dh3 per Adults; Dh1 for children under 12

Timings: Saturday to Thursday from 8.30am to 8.30pm, Friday from 2.30pm to 8.30pm

Contact: 8004003

Must see: The video room that features a hyper lapse of Dubai’s development from the discovery of oil to the present day.

Shaikh Saeed Al Maktoum House

Built in 1896, the Shaikh Saeed Al Maktoum House is a must-see for anyone. This gorgeous Arabic-styled residence was built in 1896 and was home to the late Dubai ruler Shaikh Saeed Al Maktoum until 1958. Twenty eight years later, in 1986 the house was restored and turned into a museum. The structure is built around a grand courtyard with rooms and wind towers surrounding it and houses several paintings, rare photographs and other objects reflecting the early development of Dubai. A Must see: at the Shaikh Saeed Al Maktoum House is the excellent photography exhibition.

Location: Al Shindagha Road near Al Ghubaiba metro station, Bur Dubai

Cost: Dh3 for Adults, Dh1 for children

Timings: Saturday to Thursday from 8.30am to 9pm, Friday from 3pm to 8.30pm

Contact: 8004003

Must see: The photography exhibition

Al Ahmadiya School and Heritage House

The Al Ahmadiya School that was established in 1912 and remained active until 1962. It is located in Al Ras area of Dubai, this museum can be explored in a few hours. This heritage site belongs to wealthy pearl merchant, Shaikh Ahmad Bin Dalmouk, and exhibits life-size creations of the country in the 1970s. It’s worth taking a look round to get an idea of what education used to be like before the introduction of a foreign curriculum. It was the first regular school in Dubai, which was attended by famous pupils including the father of Dubai – Shaikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum. Built around a large courtyard the school is a beauty complete with scalloped archways with intricate details.

Location: Al Ahmadiya Street in Deira, near Al Ras metro station, behind Dubai Public Libraries

Cost: Free

Timings: Sunday to Thursday from 8am to 7.30pm, Friday from 2.30pm to 7.30pm

Contact: 04 2260286

Must see: The school wind tower.

Etihad Museum

The Etihad Museum is spread over 26,000 square meters and is located adjacent to the Union House. The entrance of the museum is designed in the shape of a manuscript with seven columns that simulate the pen used to sign the UAE declaration. The museum includes permanent and temporary halls, a theatre, an educational area, a recreational area, administrative offices and car parking. It’s made up of eight permanent galleries in addition to a temporary gallery to exhibit items from international museums. The exhibitions are mostly experience-driven while the programmes are interactive. The museum’s collection includes objects and documents related to the events of the formation of the UAE nation.

Location: Jumeirah 1, across from 2nd of December Street, Dubai

Cost: Free

Contact: 04 5155771

Must see: The Planting the Union exhibition, a holographic film that highlights the meeting between the late Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan and the late Shaikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum. The movie is narrated by Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid.

Dubai Coffee Museum

Located in the Al Fahidi district, Dubai is home to the UAE’s first every museum dedicated to coffee.  The museum opened its doors in September 2014 to mark International Coffee Day, which takes place on September 29. The museum is a showcase that connects the past and the present of the coffee world. The ground floor of the museum is made up of 6 different rooms including the different roasting and brewing styles from various countries, which are live demonstrated. The first floor of the museum offers a large selection of books about the history of coffee as well as documentaries that visitors can watch in the media room. Coffee lovers can also sit and enjoy some tasty coffee in their homey and cozy coffee lounge as well as purchase related items from the museum gift shop.

Location: Villa 44, Al Fahidi Historical District

Cost: Free

Timings: Daily from 9am to 5pm, closed on Friday

Contact: 04 3538777

Must see: The cabinet of different espresso cup designs.

Dubai Moving Images Museum

The Moving Images Museum was founded in the year 2011 and houses the private collection of Mr. Akram Miknas, a Bahraini/Lebanese business man with a passion for photography. He has accumulated a collection of artifacts over the last twenty-five years that are displayed in the museum. All items in the museum are original, dating back from the 1730s to the twentieth century. The Moving Image Museum in Dubai features numerous interactive aspects, allowing for guests of all ages to fully experience the rich history of the moving image by viewing and playing with objects such as peeping into an eighteenth century Dutch peep box viewer, or turning the reel of an early twentieth century mutoscope to see the flicker effect.

Location: MCN Hive Building, 1st Floor, Barsha Heights, Dubai

Cost: Dh50 for adults, Dh25 for children or students with valid ID

Timings: daily from 11am to 6pm, except Friday

Contact: 04 4216679

Must see: The Kayser Panorama 3D viewer

Dubai Municipality Museum

Opened in 2006, Dubai Municipality Museum displays the development of the civic body since it was made an independent body. The building was built in 1957 with two floors. The ground floor served as commercial stores and then the upper floor was added to serve as a dormitory for traders. In 1964, Dubai Municipality moved in to the building and made it their headquarters before moving to their new building on Al Maktoum road. The artifacts on display include manuscripts, official documents and rare photographs.

Location: Bani Yas, near the Spice Souq, Deira

Cost: Free

Timings: Sunday to Thursday from 8am to 2pm

Contact: 04 2253312

Must see: A rare photograph of the first meeting of the municipal council

Dubai Police Museum

Dubai Police Museum highlights the achievements of the police force from its inception in 1956. A bit of online paperwork is required to get in, but certainly worth the visit. Opened to the public on November 19, 1987, the museum has various photographs documenting the years of the Dubai Police. It has three exhibition halls, which contain different collections of weapons, communication devices and the first Dubai Police logo along with other memorabilia.

Location: Next to Al Mulla Plaza

Cost: Free Note that visitors must complete an online form from the Dubai Police

Timings: Daily from 9.30am to 1.30pm except weekends and official holidays

Contact: 04 2692222

Must see: Display samples of some of the creative

Emirates Soil Museum

The Emirates Soil Museum is the first of its kind in the region. The aim is to educate the public about soil as well as provide vital information on the critical role of soil in the natural environment and demonstrate the importance of soil in urban planning and how it is the underlining measure to manage and secure food sources. Because soil is a non-renewable resource, it is essential for us to make sure it is preserved properly.

Location: Academic City, Al Ain Road, Al Ruwayyah near Zayed University

Cost: free

Timings: Sunday to Thursday from 8.30am to 4.30pm

Contact: 04 3361100

Must see: The sand dune simulator, which shows how the sand moves in a desert environment to form dust storms and develop different shapes of sand dunes.ways drugs were smuggled into the country.

Horse Museum

*Please note that the Horse Museum is currently under renovation and will be closed to the public until further notice

The Horse Museum was built in the year 1940 in the Al Shindagha area, as one of the properties of the late Shaikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum. The Horse Museum offers an opportunity for visitors to get to know the Arabian horse. It also takes the visitors on a thrilling journey with the aim of enriching their knowledge of horses. The museum consists of wings and halls that include information, prototypes and tools that have to do with horses in regards to their breeds, names, characteristics, races, genres, body parts and anatomy, methods of raising and training them. The museum also highlights how Arabic and local literature dealt with authentic Arabian horses, as well as the poetry and books written about the Arabian horse.

Location: Al Shindagha area, Bur Dubai near Al Ghubaiba Metro Station

Cost: Free

Timings: From Sunday to Thursday, from 8am until 2pm, closed on Friday and Saturday

Contact: 04 5155000​​

Must see: The carved in stone mural depicting soldiers with their horses at war.

Al Oqaili Museum

*Please note that the Al Oqaili Museum is currently under renovation and will be closed to the public until further notice

Built in 1923, this museum used to be the house of Emirati poet Mubarak Al Oqaili. Built on two stories the ground floor contains information on his life, poems and other manuscripts while the second floor displays his cultural and social life. In 2010 the house was renovated using the original building materials and construction techniques to preserve the life and work of one of the great poets of UAE.

Location: Bani Yas, near the Spice Souq, Deira

Cost: Free

Timings: Sunday to Thursday 8am to 2pm

Contact: 04 234238

Must see: Mubarak Al Oqaili’s handwritten poems.

Camel Museum

*Please note that the Camel Museum is currently under renovation and will be closed to the public until further notice

The Camel Museum was built in the 1940s, in the Al Shindagha area and at the time was called the "Camel-Riding House" or "Beit Al Rekab”. Today it is a museum to display camels, where visitors can learn a wealth of information related to the camels of the Arabian Peninsula. The museum is comprised of a number of wings and halls that include information, prototypes, models and tools that have to do with camels in regards to their history, features, facts, characteristics and merits, as well as their races, types, organs, anatomy, the ways of treating and caring for them, in addition to its benefits including its meat, milk, wool and its life.

Location: Al Shindagha area, Bur Dubai near Al Ghubaiba Metro Station

Cost: Free

Timings: From Sunday to Thursday, from 8am until 2pm, closed on Friday and Saturday

Contact:  04 5155000​​

Must see: The exhibition displaying the internal organs of the camel.

Coin Museum

*Please note that the coin museum is currently under renovation and will be closed to the public until further notice.

The coin museum is set in a historic building built in 1918 and is the perfect spot to visit, if you have a crazy coin collection or simply love coins. The museum has a collection of more than 470 coins since the early Islamic caliphates. As you explore the 7 main rooms, equipped with display cabinets and touch screen monitors, you will discover the rich history of various coins from different eras. A visit to the Coin Museum represents a rare opportunity to see more than 470 pieces of rare coins dating back to different historical eras. It also increases your knowledge of the coins that had been used in Dubai and the region, in addition to getting acquainted with the close link between the monetary system of the British Empire, India and the countries in the region before independence, and the formation of the federation.

Location: Big Souk, near Al Fahidi metro station, Bur Dubai

Cost: Free

Timings: Sunday to Thursday 8am to 2pm

Contact: 04 3539090

Must see: The old 1 Dirham coin dating back hundreds of years.

Naif Museum

The Naif Fort was built in 1939 in the heart of Deira. It was Dubai’s very first police station. In the early 1990s, the Fort was reconditioned in a way that still maintained its archaeological features. In 1997 one of the wings of the fort was converted into an official museum, open to visitors to know about the history of the police and security services in Dubai. When you visit the Naif Museum, you will get to walk through two showrooms in which the old models of police uniforms as well as the medals and badges of police ranks are featured. You will also get to see the old equipment and weapons of the police squad from its formation up until now.

Location: Naif Area, Deira

Cost: Free

Timings: from Sunday to Thursday, from 8am until 2pm, closed on Friday and Saturday

Contact: 04 5155000​​

Must see: The profile pictures of the Dubai Police leaders since its foundation.

Saruq Al-Hadid Archeology Museum

The Saruq Al-Hadid Archeology Museum was built in 1928. The museum is one of the UAE’s most accurate examples of local UAE architecture. The house consists of two floors, with 10 rooms surrounding a courtyard in the centre of the house. The building materials are made up of coral, stone and trunks of palm trees. When you visit the museum you will have the chance to truly understand the traditional urban, and architectural components and characteristics of the real.

Location: Dubai Creek near the Shaikh Saeed bin Maktoum Al Maktoum House

Cost: Dh20

Timings: From Sunday to Thursday, from 8am until 2pm, closed on Friday and Saturday

Contact:  04 5155000

Must see: The blue print of how Dubai looked before all of the glitzy skyscrapers were built

The Women’s Museum of Bait Al Banat  

Bait Al Banat was established in the 1950′s. The name of the museum is translated to ‘The Girls House’. Emirati Professor Rafia Ghubash started the museum so that she could ensure the preservation of the history of women in the UAE. Her aim was to take down stereotypes and divulge the astonishing role that women of the UAE have played in defining their culture and shaping their society. The Museum offers an introduction to the lives of UAE women within a Location: that celebrates the life and work of acclaimed UAE poets. The gallery spaces hold permanent and temporary exhibitions of works by women artists.

Location: Old Gold Souq in Deira next to the fish market

Cost: Dh20

Timings: Saturday to Thursday from 10am to 7pm

Contact: 04 2342342

Abu Dhabi

Louvre Abu Dhabi

It's the first Louvre museum to open outside Paris. And all that history and art is right here in Abu Dhabi. The Louvre Abu Dhabi opened on November 11, 2017 and is a universal museum that is home to some of the most beautiful art in the world. The eye catching building was designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel, who designed it in the shape of a shallow dome; a combination of modern architecture and the regions traditions.

The museum currently has more than 600 artworks and artefacts on display in its 23 galleries, and 12 "chapters". Dubbed as the first universal museum in the Arab world, Louvre Abu Dhabi offers a glimpse into the history of the world and its major religions. And though the theme is universal, it also presents Arab and regional art in a historical context. Organisers explained the arrangements of exhibits are deliberately chronological, meant to create a dialogue between pieces from different cultures.

Families, schools, and art enthusiasts can plan a day out visiting the iconic museum and its many different exhibits and workshops. Visitors are invited to discover how different cultures can share influences as well as mutual historical connections. The collections will constantly be enriched through loans and local art.

Location: Manarat Al Saadiyat

Cost: Dh60 per person

Timings: Sunday to Wednesday from 10am to 8pm, Thursday to Saturday from 10am to 10pm

Contact: 02 6575800

Qasr Al-Hosn

Qasr Al Hosn is the oldest building in Abu Dhabi and symbolizes the historical development as well as the political history of its rulers from 1795 to 1966. The building was developed from a freestanding conical tower built in 1761 to protect the newly discovered water source on the island, into a large and fortified fort for the ruler of Abu Dhabi used for defending the area. Under the patronage of HH Shaikh Shakhbut Bin Dhiab, who ruled Abu Dhabi from 1793 to 1816, the old tower that protected the vital water source was integrated into a larger rectangular fort arrangement. Since that date, the fort became the official seat of rule of the Al Nahyan family until 1966. Qasr Al Hosn is the main landmark in the city and it is visited by 10 to 15 busloads of tourists of various nationalities daily.

Location: In the heart of Abu Dhabi, between Zayed the First Street, and Khaled Bin Al Waleed Street

Cost: Free

Timings: Daily from 7.30am to 6.30pm

Contact: 800 724

Must see: The falconry.

Al Meraikhi House

Dalma Island is home to some of the best preserved buildings from the early 20 century. On the island there’s a small museum, called the Al-Meraikhi Old House, which belonged to the most famous pearl diver in the UAE, the late Mohammed Bin Jassim Al-Meraikhi, who was born in Dalma Island in the year 1870. Getting to Dalma Island takes 1.5 hours by ferry, or is a short flight away.

Location: Dalma Island

Cost: Free

Timings: Saturday to Thursday from 8am to 4pm

Contact: 04 3438843

Emirates National Auto Museum

This museum was established in 2004 and is located south of the city of Abu Dhabi. The Emirates National Auto Museum (ENAM) is home to 200 cars belonging to HH Shaikh Hamad Bin Hamdan Al Nahyan as well as a large fleet very cool off-road vehicles and classic American cars. The famous Mercedes rainbow collection and the world's largest truck are some of the museums proudest pieces. ENAM has even been featured in the BBC show Top Gear.

Location: South of Abu Dhabi, Hamim Road, Off E11, Al Gharbia

Cost: Dh50 per adult, free for children under 10

Timings: Daily from 10am to 6pm 

Contact: 055 7492155

Must see: The eight-bedroom motor home complete with balcony.

Heritage Village

The Heritage Village museum is located near Abu Dhabi Marina Mall just by the Abu Dhabi Corniche. It is run by Emirates Heritage Club and offers an amazing journey through the past to show visitors how people lived in Abu Dhabi before oil revenues changed the emirate and the entire country both economically and socially. Visitors get to explore the different houses that existed, such as the palm houses and houses made of mountain stones. They can walk in and around the Bedouin tents and explore old fishing villages and traditional souqs to accurately highlight how life was like at the time. Additionally, there are workshops where craftsmen show traditional skills, such as metal work and pottery, while women sit weaving and spinning. The craftsmen might occasionally give you the chance to try out the traditional methods.

Location: Emirates Heritage Club, near Marina Mall, Abu Dhabi

Cost: free

Timings: Saturday to Thursday from 9am to 4pm, and Friday from 3.30pm to 9pm

Contact: 02 6814455

Must see: The maritime exhibition. 

Al Ain Classical Cars Museum

The museum was established in late 2009 by Captain Rashid Mohammad Al Tamimi, a car enthusiast. In November 2013, the Al Ain Classic Car Museum transferred to a new Location: at the Ain Al Fida Complex. The museum has something for everyone, from veteran car lovers to those who are mildly interested in automobile antiquities. The museum considers itself the top classic car source in the UAE, and provides a wide array of services for classic car to be in optimal operating and cosmetic condition. They even cater at events with collections of classic cars that people can rent for display.

Location: Ain Al Faida Complex, Al Ain

City Cost: Dh5, children under 5 for free

Timings: Saturday to Thursday from 9am to 5pm, Friday from 4pm to 8pm

Contact: 050 6231323

Must see: The classic Rolls Royce and Jaguar

Al Ain Palace Museum

Built in 1910 for the Al Nahyan family, the rooms of this beautifully restored fort take the visitor back to an era shaped by nature and tribe. It is the former home of the late UAE founder, Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan. The Palace was once a political and social hub and now houses a large collection of material about the ruling family. Visitors can tour the private rooms and gardens once occupied by the Father of the Nation. The museum houses a large collection of memorabilia centered on his family, life and times. The architectural design and construction of Al Ain Palace is typical of historical buildings of the United Arab Emirates. It features the characteristic ventilation aspects such as square windows and balconies that are designed to keep the buildings cool in the summer months. In addition, the palace’s high surrounding walls contain a main entrance gate, topped with triangles known as “Maghazel Al Rami”. Now creatively restored, the museum houses a large collection of material about the ruling family.

Location: Al Ain St, near the commercial area on the road to Sinaiyya

Cost: free

Timings: Daily from 8.30am to 7.30pm, except Monday (closed) and Friday from 3pm to 7.30pm

Contact: 03 7517755

Must see: The private room that was once occupied by the Father of the Nation.

Al Ain National Museum

One of the oldest museums in the UAE, Al Ain Museum was established in 1969 under the guidance of the late UAE founder, Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan. Al Ain Museum charts the history of Al Ain from the Stone Age through to the foundation of the United Arab Emirates, housing artifacts discovered in the many archaeological sites scattered throughout the region such as flint machines from planers and arrowheads dating to the sixth and fifth millennia BC. On the edge of Al Ain Oasis, this museum showcases the city's unique heritage and history. It is housed in the same compound as the Sultan Bin Zayed Fort (also known as the Eastern Fort). Divided into three main sections - archaeology, ethnography and gifts - its presentations illustrate various aspects of UAE life and include an interesting collections of Bedouin jewellery, musical instruments, weapons, and a reconstruction of a traditional majlis. Al Ain Museum charts the history of Al Ain from the Stone Age through to the foundation of the United Arab Emirates, housing artifacts discovered in the many archaeological sites scattered throughout the region such as flint machines from planers and arrowheads dating to the sixth and fifth millennia BC.

Location: Near Al Ain Oasis

Cost: Dh3 per person, Dh1 for children under 10

Timing Daily from 8am to 7.30pm, except Monday (closed), Friday from 3pm to 7.30pm

Contact: 03 7118331

Must see: The pottery section, which dates between 3,200 and 2,700 BC.


Sharjah Science Museum

The Sharjah Science Museum first opened its doors on April 17, 1996. It is one of the most interactive and fun museums in Sharjah. This museum is great for children as it is very educational. The museum includes more than 50 interactive exhibitions and provides visitors with programs and interesting events catered just for the kids. The Sharjah Science Museum offers tonnes of scientific exploration including hands-on experiments, laws of nature, thermal physics, physiology and aerodynamics.

Location: Near Sharjah Media Corporation in Al-Abar area

Cost: Dh10 per adult, Dh5 for children under 12, free for children under 2

Timings: Saturday to Thursday from 8am to 8pm, Friday from 4pm to 8pm

Contact: 06 5668777

Must see: The electricity show.

Al Mahatah Museum

Back in 1932, Al Mahatta was the first airport in the Gulf. It was built in Sharjah, when the only other airport in the Middle East was in Egypt. At the time, Al Mahatta created an air bridge between the Gulf countries and India to facilitate trade. After Dubai International Airport was built, Al Mahatta remained unused and abandoned for many years until His Highness Dr. Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, decided to turn it into a museum. The museum was officially opened in the year 2000.

Location: Al Estiqlal St, Al Qasimia Area across from the Sharjah Mega Mall

Cost: Free

Timings: Daily from 8am to 8pm, Fridays from 4pm to 8pm

Contact: 06 5733079

Must see: Four fully restored, original propeller planes.

Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization

Sharjah Islamic Museum first opened its doors in 1987 as was known to locals as the Souk Al Majarrah. Now the Islamic museum displays a range of artefacts representing the different periods of Islamic history from its beginnings in Arabia and the Umayyad era until the Ottoman and Mamluk eras. The ground floor of the museum holds the Islamic Faith Gallery that displays ancient mathematical and astronomical works that were important in locating the direction of prayer towards the Ka'ba in Makkah. The entire first floor is devoted to Islamic Art that depicts historical relics, such as a Mongolian silk tunic dating back to 14th Century. The Islamic Art gallery also displays ceramics, metalwork, glass and minor arts made in the Muslim world between seventh and 13th century.

Location: Opposite the Sharjah Creek

Cost: Dh10 per adult, Dh3 for children under 12, free for children under 2

Timings: Sunday to Thursday from 8am to 8pm, Fridays from 4pm to 8pm

Contact: 06 5655455 

Must see: The gilt central dome that is decorated on the inside with mosaic depicting the night sky and the 12 signs of the zodiac.

Sharjah Natural History Museum and Desert Park

The Natural History Museum and Desert Park was founded in 1997 as a children’s petting zoo. The museum gives visitors a chance to learn about the growth of flora and fauna of the Arabian Desert. People can additionally observe and enjoy the various species of animals that are found on the Arabian Peninsula.

Location: After the Sharjah International Airport at Interchange No. 9

Cost: Dh10 per Adult, Dh5 per child

Timings: Saturday to Wednesday from 9am to 5.30pm, Thursday from 11am to 5.30pm, Friday from 2pm to 5.30pm, museum is closed on Mondays

Contact: 06 5311411

Must see: The herd of Giraffes.

Al Eslah School Museum

The school was opened in 1935 and was the first formal educational institute in Sharjah. It was converted into the Al Eslah School Museum in April 2003 and it’s the perfect museum to learn about the past educational system of the UAE. By visiting the museum you can see how the classrooms, the teachers’ and the supervisor’s rooms used to look like back in the day. Features include the wooden desks of students, as well as photos of former students who graduated from this school, which is considered the first formal school in Sharjah.

Location: in the heart of Sharjah near the Cultural (or Qur'an) roundabout

Cost: Free

Timings: Saturday to Thursday from 8am to 8pm, Friday from 4pm to 8pm

Contact: 06 5655466

Must see: The writing instruments that they used, which were made out of the shoulder bones of camels.

Al Hisn Fort Museum

The Al Hisn Sharjah Fort was which was built in 1823 and established as a museum in 1997. It was renovated in 2015. Al Hisn Fort offers visitors the chance to learn about Sharjah’s modern history including the royal family, the fort itself and how people in Sharjah used to live 200 years ago. Al Hisn fort used to be the government headquarter of the emirate and the home of the Al Qawasim family. The Fortis made up of two floors and three towers. The construction of the fort is out of coral stones that were brought up the deep sea waters of the Arabian Gulf. Exhibitions include a large assortment of photographs and archaeological artifacts. You will also learn about weapons and defense strategies at the time.

Location: Heart of Sharjah

Cost: Dh10 per Adult, Dh5 per child

Timings: Saturday to Thursday from 8am to 8pm, Friday from 4pm to 8pm

Contact: 06 5685500 

Must see: The Al Raggas Cannon, one of the largest authentic cannons that dates back to 1811.

Bait Al Naboodah

Bait Al Naboodah was built in the mid-19 century and was established as a museum in 1995. The house initially belonged to Obaid Al Shamsi and his family, he was nicknamed Al Naboodah and was a famous pearl merchant.  The museum is a great example of how traditional Emirati houses looked at the time. Touring the museum also allows you to learn about the lifestyle and values of Sharjah’s ancestors. This house is a unique model of the architecture at the time and is made up of two floors and is built using coral. There’s even a water well.

Location: in the heart of Sharjah, opposite Al Eslah School Museum and Al Arsah Souq

Cost: Dh10 per Adult, Dh5 per child

Timings: Saturday to Thursday from 8am to 8pm, Friday from 4pm to 8pm

Contact: 06 556 6000

Must see: The home library.

Sharjah Archaeology Museum

The museum was established in 1993. It gives visitors the chance to really explore the heritage and history of the emirate of Sharjah. The museum proves through their many excavation expeditions, that people have been settling in Sharjah for the last 125 000 years. By visiting the museum people get to understand the lifestyle of the region’s inhabitants from the stone ages until the modern ages, and the following ages until the rise of Islam.

Location: in the heart of Sharjah near the Cultural (or Qur'an) roundabout

Cost: Dh10 for adults, Dh3 for children under 12, free for children under 2

Timings: Saturday to Thursday from 8am to 8pm, Friday from 4pm to 8pm

Contact: 06 5655466

Must see: Petra exhibition.

Sharjah Art Museum

The Sharjah Art Museum first opened its doors in 1997. Visitors to the museum can enjoy a world of artistic wonder and creativity‎ spread over large spacious galleries. Art lovers are invited to admire the collections and temporary exhibitions hosted by the museum, and also participate in the museum’s regular program and workshops themselves. The three-story museum is dedicated to showcasing artistic creations and collections of more than 500 artworks.

Location: Arts Area, Al- Shuwaihiyeen, near Al-Corniche post office

Cost: free

Timings: Saturday to Thursday from 8am to 8pm, Friday from 4pm to 8pm

Contact: 06 5688222

Must see: The collection of works by Palestinian artist Suleiman Mansour, whose pieces tell a story about the Israeli–Palestinian conflict.

Sharjah Calligraphy Museum

The Sharjah Calligraphy Museum was established in 2002 and is home to many art pieces and beautiful paintings by both local and international calligraphers and artists. The museum is also home to regular calligraphy exhibitions. It is a great place for visitors to get introduced to Arab art works.

Location: Calligraphy square, Heart of Sharjah

Cost: Dh10 per Adult, Dh5 per child

Timings: Saturday to Thursday from 8am to 8pm, Friday from 4pm to 8pm

Contact: 06 5694561

Must see: The three historic paintings in Kufic font by calligraphers from Al Kufa.

Sharjah Car Club & Museum

Sharjah Classic Cars Museum first opened its doors in 2008 and was re-opened again in 2013. Car lovers will truly enjoy visiting this museum, as it displays hundreds of classic cars that have been built in the early 20 century. The museum features exhibitions about the history of the automotive industry through a wide range of classic cars showcased all under one roof. The museum is split up into 5 different section and each one of these sections features a different historical stage in time.

Location: Airport Road between the 4 and 5 intersections

Cost: Dh10 for adults, Dh5 for children under 12, free for children under 2

Timings: Saturday to Thursday from 8am to 8pm, Friday from 4pm to 8pm

Contact: 06 558-0222

Must see: The vintage Mercedes Benz 600

Sharjah Heritage Museum

Sharjah Heritage Museum was established in 2005 in the Heritage Area of the Emirate. It was later renovated in 2012 and moved to the heart of Sharjah to Bait Saeed Al Taweel Al Shamsi. The museum features an authentic depiction of Sharjah’s heritage and the rich culture of Emirati people and Sharjah residents over the past decades. It highlights to visitors, the life which the UAE ancestors lived as well as how people lived from the coastal areas, to the mountain areas.

Location: Opposite Al-Arsah souq, next to Bayt Al Nabodah and the theatrical association in the Heart of Sharjah

Cost: Dh10 per Adult, Dh5 per child

Timings: Saturday to Thursday from 8am to 8pm, Friday from 4pm to 8pm

Contact: 06 5680006

Must see: A crescent shaped baby bottle made from glass.

Sharjah Maritime Museum

The Sharjah Maritime Museum was established in 2003 in the Heritage Area. It is now situated in Al Khan and re-opened in 2009. The Sharjah Maritime Museum is home to the city’s most interesting marine stories. It allows visitors to explore the emirate's marine customs with a focus on the traditional wooden seafaring dhows used for fishing, trading and pearling. Visitors will get to explore the underwater world and the ways the people used to fish back in the UAE’s old days.

Location: opposite Sharjah Aquarium in Al Khan

Cost: Dh10 per Adult, Dh5 per child

Timings: Saturday to Thursday from 8am to 8pm, Friday from 4pm to 8pm

Contact: 06 5222002

Must see: The ancient pearl, which is believed to be one of the oldest pearls known in the world.


Al Manama Fort and Museum

The fort was built in 1970, where it served as the palace of the ruling family. In 1981 it was converted to a museum. Located in the center of the city of Ajman, the museum is home to a large collection of archaeological artefacts, manuscripts, old weapons and great reconstructions of the UAE’s traditional life. The fort is Ajman’s only museum.

Location: heart of Ajman

Cost: Dh5 per person

Timings: Saturday to Thursday from 8am to 8pm

Contact: 06 7116666

Must see: An ancient handwritten Quran.

Umm al-Quwain

Umm al-Quwain Fort and Museum 

The Umm Al Quwain Museum was established back in the year 1768 when it was the home of the Emiri family, in the year 2000 it was became a museum. Most of the pieces displayed in the museum are very valuable and have been brought from the Ed-dour historical site whose history goes back to the Roman Empire.

Location: Umm al-Quwain

Cost: Dh4 per person, free for children under 15

Timings: Saturday to Thursday from 8am to 1pm and 5pm to 8pm, Friday from 5pm to 8pm on

Contact: 06 7650888

Must see: The old weaponry exhibition.


Bait Shaikh Saeed Bin Hamad Al Qasimi (Kalba)

Bait Shaikh Saeed Bin Hamad Al Qasimi was built in 1898 in Kalba. It was converted into a museum in 1999. The former home is one of the most visually stunning houses of heritage in the UAE. As it states in the name, Bait Shaikh Saeed Bin Hamad Al Qasimi was home to Shaikh Sadeed’s family. The museum features a collection of treasured Islamic items of significant importance. The museum generally offers a delightful journey through exploring the ancestors’ of the UAE east coast.

Location: near Al Kalba fort, directly on the east coast of the Arabian Gulf, in Kalba

Cost: Dh5 per Adult, free for children

Timings: Saturday to Thursday from 8am to 8pm, Friday from 4pm to 8pm

Contact: 09 568 0006

Must see: An ancient rifle, which is decorated with metal plates.

Fujairah Museum

The museum opened its doors in 1991 and features archaeological exhibits that were put together after being discovered during numerous excavations all over the emirate, with most finds in the last 15 years. The numerous exhibits cover a historical period from the sixth millennium B.C. to the end of the Islamic rule and beyond. The museum also houses other exhibits that showcase the traditional and cultural heritage of the local inhabitants of the eastern Emirates over the last 100 years.

Location: Fujairah

Cost: Dh5 per person

Timings: Sunday to Thursday from 8.30am to 1.30pm and 4.30pm to 6.30pm, Friday from 2.30pm to 6.30pm

Contact: 09 2229085

Must see: An Ostrich egg dated at 2,500 years B.C.

National Museum of Ras al-Khaimah

The fort was originally built in 1749 and was the residence of the ruling Al Qasimi family until early 1960, when it was converted into a museum. Located behind the RAK Police Headquarters in the old town, the museum is home to a fascinating collection of archaeological artefacts sourced from different sites all over the emirate. The Museum is made up of coral stone, a fossil building material originating from the sea. The artifacts and collections in the museum were mostly donated by members of the Quwasim family, as well as many residents of Ras Al Khaimah.

Location: Ras al-Khaimah

Cost: Dh5 per person

Timings: Wednesday to Monday from 10am to 5pm

Contact: 07 2333411

Must see: The Al Qawasim Room on the first floor, which houses the manuscripts and treaties between the rulers of Ras Al-Khaimah and Great Britain.

Future Museums

Dubai Museum of the Future

The city of Dubai plans for a ‘Museum of the Future’ to open in 2017 in the Emirates Towers area near Shaikh Zayed Road in Dubai. The Museum of the Future will be an incubator for ideas and real designs, a driver for innovation and a global destination for inventors and entrepreneurs. The museum’s motto is ‘See the future, create the future,’ and has been designed to reflect a new approach to government innovation. The institution will use design, technology prototyping and foresight to create real examples of change. The museum is the first of its kind and represents a leading example of entrepreneurial governments embracing change and creating futuristic visions for a better world.

Location: Emirates Towers, DIFC, Dubai

Guggenheim Abu Dhabi

The Guggenheim Abu Dhabi is a museum of modern art located in the capital. It will serve as a platform for global contemporary art and culture. The museum will feature many of the artistic achievements of today. The Guggenheim will be open with permanent collections, exhibitions and educational programmes in addition to borrowed pieces and visiting collections. The museum will have 13,000 square metres of gallery space and will have four levels that are connected by glass bridges. The building will also include eleven cone-like structures that provide further exhibition space and will serve as the center of modern art and education in Abu Dhabi.

Location: Manarat Al Saadiyat

Contact: 02 6575800

Maritime Museum

Abu Dhabi’s Maritime Museum will highlight the importance of the Arabian Gulf in our daily life. Before the discovery of oil, people of the UAE were very depended on the sea, specifically from pearl diving and fishing. The museum itself will be designed like the interiors of a ship including ramps and floating decks, which will guide the visitors through the exhibition space. The museum will also include a large underwater aquarium, which will feature a traditional dhow floating over the voids of the museum’s interior.

Location: Manarat Al Saadiyat

Contact: 02 6575800

Zayed National Museum

This museum is set to be the National Museum of the UAE. It will feature multiple exhibitions that will tell stories of the Father of the Nation, the late Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan al Nahyan and his process of unifying the UAE. Once visitors enter the Zayed National Museum, they are taken on a journey into the UAE’s culture and history. Shaikh Zayed’s life will be featured in the core gallery of the museum through photographs, key documents and his personal effects. There will also be a falconry and a conservation gallery as well as the Shaikh Zayed Library.

Location: Manarat Al Saadiyat

Contact: 02 6575800