The Al Ain National Museum is the oldest museum in Al Ain, the fourth largest city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Located approximately 140 kilometres east of the centre of Abu Dhabi, it’s worth the trip for those who want to discover the region’s fascinating history. This place showcases both the archaeological and ethnographical aspects of the UAE’s 7,500-year history. Discover the ancient traditions and culture of the region’s people and check out early tools, musical instruments and weapons.
History buffs and curious travelers alike will enjoy a visit to this charming museum, which is set on the eastern side of the Al Ain Oasis. Located inside the same compound as the Eastern Fort, this place is a slice of history in itself. The museum, which focuses on the rich heritage, customs and diverse trade relations of the region, is divided into three main galleries: archeology, ethnography and gifts.
Step inside the archeology gallery and get set to discover early surgical tools, coins, Bedouin jewellery, ceramics, arrowheads, flint and stone tools, fishing and weaving equipment, copper objects and traditional costumes, some of which date back as far as the Stone Age. When you’ve had your fill, move into the ethnography gallery and learn about life in this part of the world before the discovery of oil – arguably the most economically significant event in the history of the UAE. Get a glimpse into the daily routines of the local people and their communities as you study their education system, recreational activities, marriage rituals and working lives. You’ll also see ancient copies of the Quran along with fascinating old manuscripts. Finally, visit the gifts gallery, where you’ll discover a unique collection of items gifted to Sheikh Zayed, the first president of the UAE, by various kings and presidents, along with items gifted directly to the museum by many Arab countries. Expect to see an eclectic range of golden swords and daggers, silver weapons, wood carvings, ceramic and glass items, and even a golden palm tree.
The Al Ain National Museum is open Tuesday to Sunday from 8am until 7:30pm, with reduced hours on Friday of 3pm until 7:30pm. A small admission fee is payable on the day.