We don't often visit museums on our travels, but I was keen to visit the Dubai Museum, mainly to learn about the more recent history of the city.
The museum is housed within the Al Fahidi Fort, which is possibly the oldest building in Dubai. Originally built in 1799 as a defence against foreign invasion, the Fort has since been used as a palace and prison. It was renovated in 1970 for use as a museum, with further restoration and additions added in 1995.
Outside the entrance to the museum you can have a close look at a traditional Arabic boat, a dhow. Inside, highlights for me included a grave, dug up from a nearby archaeological site, that dates back to the 6th century AD, and I also enjoyed reading about and watching a video about the way the city has grown in the last 50 or so years.
There was plenty to learn about ancient Dubai as well, and in turn you could get a feel from life in the city in the mid-20th century with a market recreation including life-size mannequins.
Saturday to Thursday: 08:30-20:30
Museums tend to have the reputation of being "boring". So when I first moved here & my mother suggested the museum I was less than thrilled. But I was proven wrong: it shows the history & life of the United Arab Emirates back to the very beginning; nothing boring about it.
The Museum is located in Al Fahidi Fort, which is thought to be one of Dubai's most ancient buildings. The walls are made of coral / shell rubble & are cemented together with lime. Wooden poles support the upper floor and the ceiling is made of palm fronds & mud.. The historic fort dates back to around 1799 (give or take a few years... nobody is sure) & was converted into a museum in 1970. Officially inauguration on May 12th 1971.
The museum's realistic life-size displays provide an insight into the city's traditional occupants. The wide ranges of exhibits include old weapons, scenes from every-day trading, schooling, farming, dhow building, fishing, pearl diving & social life, to an impressive array of military artifacts. Don't worry about whispering in here; loudspeakers reinvent the sounds of the markets with quarrelling traders, singing children & grunting camels, which makes it fun for children as well!
At the entrance, you can browse through a collection of old maps of the Gulf, together with aerial photographs showing Dubai's considerable urban expansion between 1960-1980.
There is a video of the city's rapid development throughout the past 3 decades, and believe me: it is still expanding just as rapidly today!
Opening Hours: 7 days a week.
Sat - Thur: 08:30am - 08:30pm / Friday: 02:30pm - 08:30pm (Closed on Public Holidays)
TIP: Once you're done in the Museum, walk towards the creek and stroll through the adjacent Textile Souk for an unforgettable experience.
Af if you are still thirsty for history, visit the nearby HERITAGE VILLAGE (see my seperate tip)
Dubai Museum is the main museum in Dubai. It is located in the Al Fahidi Fort.
The museum was opened with the aim of presenting the traditional way of life in the Emirate of Dubai. It includes local antiquities as well as artifacts from African and Asian countries that traded with Dubai. It also includes several dioramas showing life in the emirate before the advent of oil.
Visiting Hours : Saturday to Thursday : 08:30 am -20:30 pm , on Friday: 14:30 -20:30 pm
Visiting Hours during Ramadan: Saturday - Thursday: 09:00 am -17:00 pm, on Friday: 14:00-17:00 pm
Entry Fees: Dhs3 per Adult – Dhs. 1 Per Child
Dubai Museum is housed inside Al Fahidi Fort. This fort built in year 1787 to defend the town is considered as Dubai's oldest building. The walls of fort are built from corals and shells, cemented with lime where as upper floor is supported by wooden poles. There is iron door at the entrance of fort .Old traditional ships are also on display. You can go inside traditional Arab tents used for living and see how they are decorated and used.
In 1970 this fort was renovated to be used as museum. Many tourists love to visit here and take photographs .Entry is by ticket costing AED 3 ( $ 1 appox ). Visiting hours from Saturday to Thursday are from 0830-1930. In Ramadan these timings are different so make sure that you know the right timings.
Old maps of Emirates, photographs, music instruments and old fighting weapons are also on display. The concept of Wind Towers and their use in past has been explained with the help of a model and photographs.
Other galleries are inside new underground airconditioned building. As you enter inside, it would get dark and bats would start moving around you with sound effects but these are not real. You can also watch documentary films about Dubai's past, present and future on tv screens inside.
Every thing is so real that you would start considering yourself as part of all this activity. Traditional Arab houses and men enjoying Arabic tea, men with their camels, Islamic school, wedding function, various souks, date farm, desert , marine life, majlis, precious stones, old ship making facilities and a lot more is on display Most of these activities have been explained with the help of models, TV screens, projectors and sound effects.
Also there is a gift shop where you can buy Dubai's exclusive and traditional gifts. In the nut shell, visit to this museum is the best way to get an understanding of their culture, their history, their present and their future plans.
The Dubai Museum is located inside the Al-Fahidi Fort in Bur Dubai.
It can be reached from the Dubai Old Souk abra station via a short walk through the souk area.
The museum contains a range of impressive exhibits depicting the history of Dubai.
The exhibits include a life-like souk, a school and a number of traditional shops, all with frighteningly realistic models. Other exhibits include one showing traditional desert life, one showing traders loading goods onto a dhow and another showing workers building a dhow.
Entrance costs 3 Dirhams for adults and 1 Dirham for kids.
My most interesting visit in Dubai was the museum. Installed in the recuperated fort of Al-Fahidi, built in the 18th century, it has not a remarkable collection, but it concentrates mainly in the people and their behaviours.
Contrasting with the modern and high buildings that popup everywhere like mushrooms, this classical structure has the look and personality of the real local architecture. The views from outside are very interesting, but you should enter and enjoy the freshness and simplicity of its interior.
The museum is housed within the beautifully restored Al Fahidi Fort, which was erected around 1778 to defend the city against invasion and was opened as a museum in 1971. The museum's diverse collection of exhibits offers a fascinating insight into the history and cultural heritage of Dubai.
The domestic and commercial life of a bygone era are presented in realistic lifesie dioramas. These provide re-creations of a labyrinthine souk and typical homes, as well as tableaux that bring to life the occupations, costumes and social customs. Other exhibits focus on ancient artefacts, life in the desert and Dubai's relationship with the sea.
Entrance fee: 3 Dhs (approx. 0,80 USD)
When my wife and I entered the Old Fort, part of the Dubai Museum in the Shindagha District of Deira adjacent to the Heritage Village, we were not very impressed. The now-restored fort is very small as forts go, indeed, tiny compared with its Omani counterparts. And in the courtyard there were some fairly interesting items such as a small dhow, a canoe carved from a single tree trunk, and a very unusual wooden water tank. There was also a mock-up of a barrastee (mangrove branch) house with a wind tower made from woven palm fronds. We were pleased to see it all, but, as I said earlier, we were not very impressed.
Just before we were about to leave the fort, my wife decided she needed to use the facilities, which were down a rather dark ramp leading to a basement level, which we had not been made aware of. Not wanting to enter dark areas alone, she asked me to accompany her, which I did. We were thoroughly unprepared for what we found: the real body of the museum!
It turns out that the antiquities division of the Dubai government very practically decided to house most of their museum underground, which, of course, makes perfect sense considering the climate. Downstairs we found a whole series of display rooms, most filled with remarkably detailed tableaux, which illustrate better than almost any other possible means both Dubai’s traditions and its current and future development. In the greatest detail they have reproduced shops, pearl merchants’ stalls, tea houses, and even night-time Bedu encampments.
We ended up spending nearly 3 hours wandering around the underground museum, much longer than we often spend in similar institutions. It goes without saying that we left much impressed and have been recommending it to everyone we meet who intends visiting the city.
Dubai Museum is hosted inside Al Fahidi Fort, a fort dating back to 1787 and restored in 1971 to be used as a museum.It's a beautiful building with a small but well-preserved defensive tower. The museum inside is fairly interesting - or better very interesting in tis content - but at times a bit on the tacky side... this is Dubai, after all, so I guess it shouldn't hurt.
It is divided in 4 main areas, each dedicated to a different "life":
- Commercial Life
- Domenstic Life
- Life in the desert
- Life on the sea
The museum is open Saturday to Thursday: 08:30-20:30 daily - Friday: 14:30-20:30
The Dubai Museum has variety including living displays and has something for all ages and gives an extremely good insight into Dubai then and now. Its cool, easy to get around, wheelchair friendly and ideal as your first place to visit.
We took a friend who works at one of Sydney Australias largest museums, the Powerhouse and she rated it as very good, educational and interesting....... not all museums are like that!
This comes highly recommended to understand the history, heritage, traditions & customs of Dubai city.
The museum entrance fee is a modest 3 AED, which is nothing for the amount of information & artifacts on display. You'll get to learn how this Emirate rose to such prominence in a relatively short space of time.
On display are maps of the ever-changing city over the decades & centuries. The open central courtyard displays various traditional boats, each made for a specific purpose. There are several small cabins around recreating traditional scenes such as interiors of houses, etc.
Weapons & their evolution is on display in the glass cabinets in a side building. You'll also see local musical instruments.
The largest section is the downstairs one, with manequinns depicting scenes from traditional ways of life, eg traders sitting by a fire, pearl merchants doing deals, a grocery shop, a spice stall, etc.
There's also a large room dedicated to the importance of fishing & pearl-diving.
Next is an educational room regarding the various productive regions around the deserts, how locals selected areas for settlement, the local animal species to be found in the region, etc. You also come to see how important palm trees were, from making houses to being used as fuel.
We visited the Museum in a very hot day, after a long stroll in the Creek, and it was nice to breath some fresh, contitioned air!!
As you visit the museum, you go thru the history of Dubai, from desert houses with their typical wind towers to modern Dubai. Mannequins are used to recreate the atmosphere of an old creek, a night in the desert and to show how oyster fishing was performed.
You'll see old maps of the Gulf and aerial pics of the development of Dubai city in the last decades, really impressive!
Visit the Dubai Museum for a crash course in the history of Dubai. Here you would get to know the life in Dubai before the discovery of oil. The museum is very well-arranged and gives a great walkthrough of the traditional Bedouin culture and life. It's also interesting to learn that pearl diving was a big business before oil was discovered. It's also nice to see how life was at the Dubai Creek in the old days. This museum is worth visiting!
The building in itself was known as the Al Fahidi Fort and is a historical building in itself. Take your time to explore the compound as well. There is a souvenir shop at the end of your tour where you can purchase some nice memorabilia of Dubai!
Sat - Thurs : 8.30 am - 8.30 pm
Fri : 3.00 pm - 9 pm
This is perhaps the best-known cultural instituation of Dubai. In a former fortress, the history of Dubai is shown. The time between the early 19th century (when Dubai was established as a political unity) and 1971 (when Dubai became a founding member of a new independent country, the United Arab Emirates) forms the large part of the exhibition. But also older Dubai history and future plans for Dubai can be seen here. All the exhibitions are in english and arab, unfortunately I do not remember if there are leaflets etc. in any other language. They have a high standard, being more informative than many I have seen in european museums. They only facility westerners may probably miss is some kind of café which is not in the museum (just two vending mechines close to the exit). But on the other hand, who goes to a museum to eat?
Entry fee was quite low, but I don’t remember the exact amount. The Al Fahidi fortress, where the museum is located, is one of the oldest structure in the United Arab Emirates, dating from the late 18th century. Ist front door is one of the most photographed motives in Dubai.
Dubai Museum - This museum is located inside an old fort. It is very cheap to get into. When you go down to the galleries, it is air-conditioned. There is a small souvenir shop inside. Next to the exit there are seats and drink machines. There are clean toilets in the museum.
Exhibits in the museum explore various traditional aspects of Arab life. It is quite an enjoyable way to spend an hour or so.
The museum is on the Bur Dubai side of the creek near the old souk. It is not far from Bastika, the abra station to cross the creek, the old souk, the grand mosque, the Iranian mosque.
Worth a visit.
I think the nearest metro station to this is Al Fahidi Station - around 10 minutes walk away. You can also go to Al Gubiba Station and walk up the side of the creek to it. This is an interesting walk, but difficult in the heat of summer.
The Arabian Courtyard Hotel with its Sherlock Holmes Pub is just behind the museum.