Dubai’s best museums

Learn more about the city’s origins, traditions and culture
Dubai is known for its future-forward ambitions, incredible skyscrapers and multitude of entertainment options, but it’s also a city that’s borne of a rich, cultural legacy. The nation’s past weaves a remarkable story that’s being retold in new and imaginative ways at Dubai’s landmark museums. Let us set the scene for a memorable journey back in time with our guide to the city’s must-see museums.
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Al Shindagha Museum

Culture by the Creek

Al Shindagha Museum

Culture by the Creek

Charter a historic course at this interactive museum

To get a real sense of Dubai, you’ll have to make your way to the Creek, where the city’s story started. This waterway was where the Bani Yas tribe first settled in 1833 and today, it continues to be a hive of activity with traditional abras and dhows criss-crossing along the way.

Visitors can immerse themselves in this fascinating history at Al Shindagha Museum, located nearby. One of the pavilions here is the illuminating themed multimedia experience: 'Dubai Creek: Birth of a City'. The engaging and interactive showcase presents the area’s dramatic development over centuries, and explains what life was like by the inlet. Another pavilion is the Perfume House, which reveals how scents play an important role in the Emirati culture, with exhibits centred around traditional techniques, educational videos and historical artefacts.

Cost: AED15 for adults

Contact Details
  Dubai Creek Area
  +971 4 515 5336

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Etihad Museum

Emirati pride

Etihad Museum

Emirati pride

The birthplace of the United Arab Emirates

Etihad Museum honours the formation of the United Arab Emirates and is, in fact, located on the site of Union House, the very place where the constitution was signed on 2 December, 1971. History was made on this date when the six trucial states of Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajman, Fujairah and Umm Al Quwain signed the constitution to form the UAE (the seventh emirate of Ras Al Khaimah joined the federation the following year). Step inside the magnificent building and learn all about the nation’s economic development between the years of 1968 and 1974, as well as the journey to independence.

Just as compelling as the exhibits is the building itself. Designed by Canadian architects Moriyama and Teshima, the museum has a curved white roof, inspired by the shape of the constitution. It also features seven columns to symbolise the pens used to sign the agreement.

Cost: AED20 for adults

Contact Details
  1 Jumeirah Street
  +971 4 515 5771

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Coffee Museum

Taste of tradition

Coffee Museum

Taste of tradition

Take an aromatic journey back in time

Dedicated to the history of one of the world’s most popular drinks, Dubai’s Coffee Museum offers an irresistible experience. Spread across two floors, visitors can discover different roasting and brewing styles from around the world, demonstrated live by knowledgeable staff. Afterwards, take a closer look at priceless antiques, watch insightful documentaries, pick up special souvenirs, or simply sit back and unwind with a delicious brew at the coffee lounge.

Cost: AED10 for adults


Contact Details
  Villa 44, Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood
  +971 4 353 8777

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Saruq Al-Hadid

Archaeology museum

Saruq Al-Hadid

Archaeology museum

Artefacts that date back thousands of years

In 2002, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai, chartered a flight across the Rub Al Khali desert and glimpsed a patch of dunes that were a different shade. This contrast was found to be the slag by-product from smelting metal during the Iron Age, which had since risen to settle on the surface of the dunes. It was the start of a series of exciting discoveries.

The desert site was named Saruq Al-Hadid – ‘the Way of Iron’ – which was a centre for metalworking nearly 3,000 years ago. Objects from the site are now on display at the Saruq Al-Hadid archaeology museum in the Al Shindagha neighbourhood. Exhibits are centred around the skills and accomplishments of ancient workers, with fine examples of metal tools, weapons and jewellery on display. Excavations are still taking place at the site and new finds are added to the museum regularly.

Cost: AED20 for adults

Contact Details
  Al Fahidi Fort, Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood
  +971 4 353 1862

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Pearl Museum

Cultural gem

Pearl Museum

Cultural gem

Discover Dubai’s pearl diving past

Keen to venture off the beaten path? Pay a visit to the Pearl Museum, located inside the Emirates NBD bank headquarters in Deira. A tribute to pearl diving – an important livelihood in the 19th and early 20th centuries – the museum is home to the world’s largest collection of natural saltwater pearls from the Arabian Gulf.

The collection once belonged to illustrious pearl trader, Ali bin Abdullah Al Owais, and was only made public when his son Sultan Al Owais – the late Chairman of National Bank of Dubai (now known as Emirates NBD) – donated his father’s priceless collection. Aside from precious pearls, there’s also an interesting collection of diving equipment, tools, maps and more. The museum is open to the public only by appointment, and ideally in small groups of around eight to 10 people.

Cost: Free

Contact Details
  10 Baniyas Road, Deira
  +971 4 201 2713

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