- Name: Dubai Museum
- Location: Al Fahidi Fort, Al Fahidi Street, Bur Dubai, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
- Reason to visit: To discover the history and culture of Dubai before the discovery of oil
- Our rating: ☆☆☆☆
- Opening hours: Saturday to Thursday from 08:30 am to 08:30 pm, Friday from 02:30 pm to 08:30 pm (#Please note, this venue is currently under renovation and will be closed to the public until further notice.)
- Entrance fee: AED 3 for adults, AED 1 for children under 6 years old
- Duration time: About 1 to 2 hours
- Recommended tour: 7 Days Panoramic Dubai & Abu Dhabi
Dubai is a city that is known for its modern skyscrapers, luxurious shopping malls, and futuristic attractions. But did you know that Dubai also has a rich and fascinating history that dates back to thousands of years ago? If you want to learn more about the past of this amazing city, you should visit the Dubai Museum, which is located in the oldest building in Dubai, the Al Fahidi Fort.
We will tell you everything you need to know about Dubai Museum, click to jump to the section:
- History of Dubai Museum and Al Fahidi Fort
- What to expect at Dubai Museum
- How to get to Dubai Museum
- Other attractions near the Dubai Museum
The Dubai Museum is housed in the Al Fahidi Fort, which is the oldest existing building in Dubai. The fort was built in 1787 by Sheikh Maktoum bin Butti Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai at the time, as a defensive structure to protect the town from raids and invasions. The fort was made of coral rock and mortar, and had three towers and two gates. The fort also served as the residence of the ruling family, a garrison for soldiers, a storehouse for weapons and ammunition, and a prison for criminals.
The fort witnessed many historical events that shaped the history of Dubai, such as the signing of the "General Maritime Peace Treaty" between the British and the rulers of the coastal emirates in 1820, which ended the piracy in the Arabian Gulf. The fort also witnessed the establishment of the postal service in Dubai in 1909, and the installation of the first telephone line in 1939.
In 1969, Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the deputy ruler of Dubai, decided to convert the fort into a museum to preserve and display the heritage and culture of Dubai. He invited a museum expert from Kuwait to help with the project, and also collected many artifacts and antiques from local families and merchants. The museum was officially opened in 1971 by Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai and the father of Sheikh Hamdan. The museum was renovated and expanded in 1995 to include more galleries and exhibits.
The Dubai Museum covers an area of 4,000 square meters, and consists of several galleries that showcase different aspects of the history and culture of Dubai. The galleries are located both above and below ground level, and are connected by a spiral staircase. The galleries include:
At the entrance, there are two ancient cannons, and the first thing that catches your eye is a large antique sailboat on a platform, which has become the symbol of the museum. In the courtyard, there are old cannons and a pile of lead balls that look like cannonballs, perhaps these were the weapons of the Dubai defense army. In addition, there are several old sailboats and an ancient well in the yard. Next to the well are thatched houses, which were the mansions of ancient merchants.
Entering inside, you can see the restoration of the furnishings of the old houses. There are beds and halls, and what is striking is the earthen air conditioner. The wind tower, which is higher than the thatched house, has a cross-shaped vent that can draw in wind from all sides. Standing under the vent, you can feel the breeze.
Leaving here, you come to the underground passage of the Dubai Museum. Here you can see the lifelike world of the Bedouins. There are ancient markets with actual sizes, and blacksmiths, jewelers and tailors who look like living people. The museum also has scenes like a Hollywood studio: real-sized camels, oases, campfires and so on. Leaving the underground exhibition hall, you will find a souvenir shop with a variety of souvenirs to choose from.
Watching a movie
In addition, the museum shows a looped movie about the history of Dubai, which lasts about 15 minutes. You can watch it if you have time. It tells the story of Dubai from the beasts in the desert and the birds in the ocean, to the poverty and backwardness before the oil age and the rapid development after the oil era.
The Dubai Museum is located at the southern end of the Dubai Creek, in the Al Fahidi area of Bur Dubai. You can reach the museum by various modes of transportation, such as:
- Metro: The nearest metro station is Al Fahidi station on the green line, you can stop at the the nearby Al Ghubaiba or Sharaf DG Metro Stations.
- Bus: There are several bus routes that stop near the museum,
- Taxi: You can easily find a taxi in Dubai and ask the driver to take you to the Dubai Museum or Al Fahidi Fort.
- Car: You can drive your own car or rent one in Dubai and follow the signs to the Dubai Museum, but the museum parking and nearby public parking options are quite limited.
The Dubai Museum is also surrounded by other attractions that reflect the cultural legacy of Dubai, such as:
- Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood: This is a historic district that preserves the old architecture and lifestyle of Dubai.
- Arabian Tea House: This is a traditional cafe that serves authentic Emirati cuisine and beverages.
- Coffee Museum: This is a museum that celebrates the history and culture of coffee.
- Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum House: This is a historic house that was once the residence of Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum, the grandfather of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.