Etihad Museum Dubai
Initiated in March 2017, it is totally committed to the advance of history, culture, and artistic heritage of the United Arab Emirates. Each detail of the construction, a magnificent structure of 25.000 sqm, was designed in order to give values which, in 1971, led to the union of seven Emirates (Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaima, Sharjah, and Umm al-Qaywayn) in one nation.
The Story behind The Museum
The purpose of the building’s futuristic design, through the symbology of the elements used, is to offer a visual representation of UAE’s whole history. The technical-lighting project was realized by Umaya Lighting Studio based in Dubai, one of the most innovative lighting studios in the Middle East market. The aim of the project is to make the Museum’s stunning architecture stand out and to emphasize the uniqueness of its structure and design.
This museum is an incredible project that aims to revive, in a grand style, a memory of the country. This museum works as a form of the “National Museum” given to recording the history of the United Arab Emirates as a contemporary nation.
The site is a complex that houses several buildings, the old Royal Administrative Palace of Dubai, a Hall (Union House) where the agreement was approved and signed between the Emirates of the region for a unification of the country, initially 6, shortly after the 7th Emirate, Ras Al Khaimah – and, lastly, the most recent building, which opened to the exhibit items with impressive architecture.
Etihad Museum History and Architecture
Designed by Canadian architects Moriyama & Teshima Architects the museum is built in the shape of a manuscript or a paper, with seven leaning columns representing the pens that signed the statement of the Constitution in 1971. Although all the furniture reconstruction was carried out within the UAE, the interiors, including the carpets, curtains, and lights were imported from India, Turkey, and Germany. Near the flag pole is a body of water designed to match the shape of the original shoreline at the time the union of UAE was considered. Opposite to popular thought, the name Etihad Museum has nothing to do with the Etihad airlines. Etihad is translated to 'union' in Arabic.
Etihad Museum Structure and Design
As mentioned before the history and the architecture of the museum, now then what is inside the beautiful Etihad Museum and what do you get to experience inside it?
When you enter the luxuriant compound, you shall walk through the reception to reach the main building, its rounded and curved architecture creating an embracing circular structure, confirmed to leave you looking at it for a few minutes. There are 3 integral parts to the Etihad Museum which are “The Union House, the Guest House, and the Visitor’s Pavilion”. All of these parts produce together permanent and temporary exhibitions, a library, a theatre, an interactive timeline with maps and videos an educational area, and easygoing recreational space. The interactive programs are especially interesting as it educates visitors on the rights, opportunities, and responsibilities the constitution bestows upon the people of the UAE.
There are 10 halls in total, each one designed around a different theme, they are different and each one has a unique thing to offer than the other sections. The following part will show you the beauty and the uniqueness of those sections!
Etihad Museum Exhibitions
The Etihad Museum offers its visitors a unique journey to the past by focusing on a chronology of landmark events between 1968 and 1974, which eventually lead to the unification of the Emirates in 1971. There are a total of 10 exhibitions in the Etihad Museum that escort you through the journey of the UAE’s founding fathers and how they brought together the seven emirates. Here is a brief look at each of these Etihad Museum displays and exhibits.
- Exhibition 1 | Get introduced to the found fathers: it’s considered the first great exhibition at the museum which you will be welcomed too, is the grand picture gallery of all the founders (the Founding Fathers of the UAE). Each picture is followed by an interactive screen that shows their biographies and glass containers encasing with a few of their belongings.
- Exhibition 2 | unleashing the story behind the Union: The second section of the museum provides visitors with a mesmerizing special outcomes display. Through description and music, this exhibit outlines the story of the Union and other major events that took place during the foundation of the UAE.
- Exhibition 3 | Geographical Insights: Before the unification of the seven emirates in the U.A.E, the country was plunged into the Trucial States. As visitors move from Section 1 and 2 of this museum, there is an interactive map of the UAE that offers a panoramic view of the country before the union of the emirates took place. Visitors can begin with informative videos and audios of key events in the history of UAE as they explore this map.
- Exhibition 4 | Handling debates and negotiations: This is one of the smaller exhibits at the museum, but a very informative and educational one. It’s an interactive screen with videos and audio that showcases the many discussions and negotiations that took place with the neighboring Arab countries and with the foreign countries.
- Exhibition 5 | Canal construction: It had the details all the line-up of events through an illustration of an irrigation canal.
- Exhibition 6 | Explore the seeds of Unity : In this exhibition, the visitors get to explore at the Etihad Museum is called the Seeds of Unity. Over here, an extraordinary 3D visual displays. The technology used here makes it seem like the two rulers are actually present in the room! The technology used in this section will make you feel like you are in a different era!
- Exhibition 7 | explore the idea behind the museum: Here visitors get to play a game. All they need to do is show the encrypted messages by aligning a total of seven cubes with interactive screens in the room. Each of these cubes represents a unique idea and reveals information and pictures relating to that theme.
- Exhibition 8 |How do the Emirates get together? : This is the exhibit you should explore if you want to learn about the challenges the founding fathers faced before 1971, through a series of photographs and audio messages.
- Exhibition 9 | UAE Original law copy: Another one of the remarkable exhibits at the Etihad Museum is, of course, the display of the UAE’s law, signed by the Founding Governors. Both Arabic and English copies of the UAE’s constitution are available for viewing here.
- Exhibition 10 | UAE in the past, present and the future: The last section at the museum is an accessible exhibition hall that has interactive screens with educational material that visitors can explore to gain fascinating insights such as the development of the unified UAE passports. It also gives a summary of the Union, it’s past, present, and future.
All You Need to Know about Etihad Museum
- The Museum Timings and Opening Hours
The Etihad Museum is open from Monday to Sunday from 10:00 AM - 8:00 PM
- Etihad Museum Location
If you're going in a taxi, ask them to drop you at the Union House. The museum is located on Jumeirah Road along Route D94. Since this is a fairly new museum, not too many people are aware of it.
If you’re in Dubai and are planning to visit the museum, we have prepared a basic guide with all the required information you’ll need to know before going. Don't miss this beautiful creation to see how the UAE looked in the past.