Zayed National Museum
The Zayed National Museum tells the story of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan (1918–2004), his unification of the United Arab Emirates, the long history of the region and its cultural connections across the world. .
Sheikh Zayed nourished tradition and cared for his nation and its future and it is entirely appropriate that a national museum be founded in his memory. His political achievements were immense; he was the ruler of Abu Dhabi from 1966 to 2004 and President of the UAE from 1971 to 2004, guiding the Emirates to unification and leading the social and cultural development of the country. He is widely regarded as the ‘Father of the Nation’.
Central to the stories told in the Museum are Sheikh Zayed’s strongly held values. These encompassed a passionate belief in education, conservation, environmental sustainability, heritage and culture, all underpinned by his humanitarianism and strong faith. The Zayed National Museum has been founded in the spirit of Sheikh Zayed’s work on behalf of Emiratis and people everywhere.
The Zayed National Museum is a place for all; for UAE nationals, residents and visitors, for young and old, for lifelong visitors to the world’s great cultural institutions, and for those making their first-ever museum visit. Sheikh Zayed was renowned for the warmth he extended to people from all walks of life, and this spirit continues in the institution that bears his name.
As well as being a popular attraction, the museum will be a centre of learning and discussion that will allow everyone to play their part, regardless of their education or experience. It will inspire visitors through exhibitions, performances, activities and workshops, both within its walls and in the community, and reach audiences across the world through web and the latest technologies.
This exceptional museum will add to what promises to be one of the most dynamic combinations of cultural institutions in the world. The highest standards of display and curatorship, combined with an exciting programme of special exhibitions and events, will ensure that the Museum makes a vibrant addition to the regional, national and international cultural scene.
Twelve leading architectural firms from ten different countries submitted designs for the Zayed National Museum in an international design competition. The contest was a new initiative for Saadiyat Island that reflected the desire to create a unique and dramatic building in honour of Sheikh Zayed.
The winning design for the Zayed National Museum comes from internationally renowned architects Foster + Partners.
Inspired by the dynamic of flight and the feathers of a falcon, the design reflects Sheikh Zayed’s love of falconry and creates an iconic symbol for the nation. Cutting-edge design, materials and construction methods are combined to create a spectacular addition to the Saadiyat Island skyline.
Each steel feather, the tallest of which rises 125 metres, will contain a gallery space where visitors can explore the history and culture of the UAE. The building will be surrounded by water and set within landscaped gardens, creating a destination for all and a worthy tribute to the memory of Sheikh Zayed.