5 Best Museums in UAE - Explore Culture & History

Written by Arpan Ghosh

The UAE is often characterized as a country of high-rise towers and lavish lifestyles, primarily due to Dubai’s luxury property market. However, there is a deeper cultural layer to the country that visitors don’t always get to see, one that can be discovered in its many museums. There are some truly spectacular options such as the Louvre Abu Dhabi, though if you want a more intimate look at the culture of the UAE, then these are some of the best museums in UAE.

Dubai Museum


Without a doubt the one place that has to be on your list is the Dubai Museum. Located in the historic Al Fahidi area near the banks of the Dubai Creek, this museum shows you a side of the famous emirate that is far removed from glittering attractions such as the Burj Khalifa and Ain Dubai. Discover the simple yet culturally rich origins of the global metropolis that we all know today while exploring a well-traveled quarter of the city.

Etihad Museum


The Etihad Museum represents the unification of the seven emirates that make up the UAE. It is an expansion of Union House, the building where the declaration to unite the emirates was signed back in 1971, and is located on 2nd of December Street, named after the day the UAE was founded. Within the museum, visitors will also find several artifacts related to the political and military history of the country, divided among eight distinct pavilions.

Sharjah Art Museum


While Dubai is the UAE’s commercial hub, Sharjah is better known as the cultural heart of the nation, a fact evident in the emirate’s many museums. One of the most popular is the Sharjah Art Museum, a three-storey structure housing a vast collection of modern and contemporary art by artists from the UAE and several other countries around the Middle East. The museum has several permanent galleries and hosts temporary exhibitions as well, featuring local and international artists. There are also cultural activities and workshops held throughout the year.

Sharjah Natural History Museum


Discover the diversity of Dubai’s animal and plant kingdoms as you explore the Natural History Museum, which showcases everything from dinosaur fossils to taxidermic models of modern animal species. There are also interactive features that show how much of the country’s current landscape was formed. The museum is adjoined by a botanical garden with a variety of local flora, and a children’s farm and petting zoo.

Dubai Frame


One of the city’s newest attractions and one that provides a unique perspective on the city, Dubai Frame is a 150m-tall structure of glass and inlaid gold that is essentially a giant picture frame. A glass bridge running along the top of the frame provides a dramatic view of the older districts of Dubai on one side and the glittering newer city on the other. There are displays and interactive exhibits that showcase the city’s past, highlight key areas and provide a glimpse of how the city might look 50 years from now.

Other Museums to Consider

There really are many more museums around than one might realise. There is a Coin Museum, a Coffee Museum and even a Camel Museum, showcasing the history of how these animals came to be such a key part of Bedouin culture. Each of the other emirates has its own separate museum as well, if you really want to expand your cultural horizons and take a road trip around the country.