After experiencing the glam and glitz of the United Arab Emirates, ever wondered about the humble beginnings of the bedouin country? There is no better place than the Etihad Museum to delve into the past. Situated in Jumeirah, Dubai the Etihad Museum is a spectacle offering a series of interactive pavilions and cultural offerings of the United Arab Emirates contemporary history. Through a panoply of photos, films and original documents, one can witness the evolution of the United Arab Emirates at the Etihad Museum and walk out better enlightened.
Before you embark on this journey to the past, here’s all you should know about the Etihad Museum Dubai.
Etihad Museum In a Nutshell
Inaugurated on December 2, 2016 by Sheikh Mohammed on the celebrations of the 45th National Day the Etihad museum is run in collaboration between the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) and Dubai Culture & Arts Authority. While the former was incharge of the design, development and construction, the latter is manages the site currently. The Etihad Museum is marked by a UAE flag atop the 123-metre golden pole on Jumeirah Beach Road and is a repository of documentary films, photographs, artefacts, timelines and interactive displays. This panoply of originals concentrates on historic milestones in the years leading up to the unification of the United Arab Emirates and pays homage to the country's seven founding fathers.
Etihad Museum History & Architecture
Located next to the historic Union House on the Dubai waterfront, the Etihad museum was built to honour the most pivotal moment in UAE’s history - the birth of the country at the Union House. The Union House was the very room where the 7 rulers of the 7 Emirates came together in 1971 to sign the declaration that marked the formation of the United Arab Emirates. Since then, the oval-shaped Union House has undergone restoration and refurbishment, however, the building's exterior including the windows and railings, are all original. Once the idea to build the Etihad Museum origined, in just 17 months, the 25,000 square meter museum was built. Even the logo of the Etihad museum is inspired by the shape of Union House.
Apart from the Union House, the Etihad Museum comprises of 2 other important halves - the Guest Palace and the Visitors Pavilion. The Etihad Museum is situated underground and directly connected to the Guest House through a suite located above ground outside of the museum building.
Designed by Canadian architects Moriyama & Teshima Architects the museum is constructed in the shape of a manuscript, with seven leaning columns representing the pens that signed the declaration of the Constitution in 1971. Although all the furniture restoration was carried out within the UAE, the interiors, including the carpets, curtains and chandeliers 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 conceived. Don't overlook this beautiful creation to witness how UAE looked in the past.
Contrary to popular thought, the name Etihad Museum has nothing to do with the Etihad airlines. Etihad is translates to 'union' in Arabic.
Etihad Museum Tickets
The Etihad Museum Tickets are available in 2 types
- General ticket 25 AED
- Group ticket 20 AED
Etihad Museum Tickets
- Learn about the history of the UAE inside one of the most well-designed museums in the world.
- Get a glimpse of the events that led to the formation of the UAE.
- Flexible Tickets that can be cancelled up to 48 hours before the tour.
Inside Etihad Museum - Your Tour Experience
So what is inside the stunning Etihad Museum and what do you get to experience inside it? Here's a brief description of how your visit to the Etihad Museum would go.
As soon as you enter the opulent compound, you shall walk through the reception to reach the main building, its curved architecture creating an embracing circular structure, assured to leave you gaping at it for a few minutes. There are 3 integral parts to the Etihad Museum - The Union House, the Guest House and the Visitor’s Pavilion. All of these parts bring together permanent and temporary exhibitions, a theatre, library, an interactive timeline with maps and videos an educational area and a casual recreational space. The interactive programmes are particularly interesting as it educates visitors on the rights, privileges and responsibilities the constitution bestows upon the people of the UAE.
There are 10 halls in total, each one designed around a different theme - the Founding Fathers, the UAE Interactive Map, the Interactive Timeline Hall, the Showcase, the Canals, the Seeds of Unity, the Change of Union, the Unity of the UAE, the Constitution and the Union Accomplishment.
One of the visitor favourites is the Founding Fathers hall where visitors get a chance to know in depth about each founding father, witness their belonging; all supplemented by interactive screens providing information about their biographies and family trees.
Another integral part of the Etihad Museum is the Guest House, a building of historic important where the founders met before signing the union. This building is said to hold the Late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum Majlis’s private office and dining room with seating for 300 people. From old passports to personal artefacts such as letters, rings, eyeglasses and pocket watches, stamps and and other rare items are on display for the public to add dimensions to the story of UAE.
There is also a snug, yet massive library where one flip through pictorial books, a beautiful garden to amble around and a great cafe serving arabian delicacies with a modern twist like the camel milk ice cream. There is an interesting stamps collection with the Royal Mail map that deserves a visit too. All in all, the Etihad Museum is a great way to learn the region’s history amidst a thoroughly contemporary setting.
Etihad Museum: All You Need to Know
Etihad Museum TimingsThe Etihad Museum is open from Monday to Sunday from 10:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Etihad Museum Location
The museum is located on Jumeirah Road along Route D94. If you're going in a taxi, ask them to drop you at the Union House. Since this is a fairly new museum, not too many people are aware of it.
Tips for visiting the Etihad Museum
- Students aged 5-24 years can pay a reduced amount of 10AED. The museum is free for children under 5 and disabled individuals.
- Don't forget to drop by the Seven Sands Cafe on the 3rd floor and eat their delicious sweets.
- There are 2 introductive tours organised daily, one at 11:00 AM and the second at 5:00 PM
- The video in the hi tech auditorium is a great way to gain insight into history of the union with in depth individual interviews with key people.
- Plan to spend atleast 3 hours at the Etihad museum.
- The Etihad Museum is open on Friday too (one of the few places in Dubai that is open on Friday).
- If you go during the weekday, be ready to brave through school tours. It is advisable to go early in the morning or later in the day to avoid the school crowd and enjoy the museum sedately.
- Follow them on Facebook and Instagram for the latest updates on exhibition and events.
- As of June 2018, the Etihad Museum has no official website. You can however buy tickets online through Headout.
Etihad Museum Reviews
Local history really hits a chord in this gorgeous museum. Visitors are able to see the exact rooms where the meetings were held, documents signed, and the UAE (as we know it) was brought into formal existence. Photos of the sheikhs and their items and artifacts, give a visitor a personal and intimate view of this great country.
JetMags2014, TripAdvisor, June 2018
The architecture looked interesting in the brochure but beyond that we were not sure what to expect. On arrival, the building is stunning but was very quiet inside. However, we were told that a guided tour was about to start and what a treat! The Emirati guide was excellent and brought to life what could be a fairly dry subject (the union of the seven states that make up the UAE) with his explanation of the site, artefacts, photos, interactive exhibits and related anecdote. After the tour we went back to look at more of the well selected and beautifully presented exhibits. The cafe is EXCELLENT serving high quality local produce. Definitely worth a visit but time it for one of the two guided tours held each day.
ChrisPE2014, TripAdvisor, July 2018
Explore Around Etihad Museum Dubai
While you're in the vicinity, why not check out other things you could do around? Here are our detailed guides on all that you can do around Etihad Museum Dubai.