International Museum Day offers in the UAE, from free entry to workshops

Visitors to receive complimentary access to Expo 2020 Dubai Museum when it opens this weekend

Expo 2020 Dubai Museum in the Opportunity District will open on Saturday. Wam
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International Museum Day on Saturday will be a special one in the UAE – with a new cultural attraction set to open in Dubai.

To celebrate the launch of Expo 2020 Dubai Museum, visitors will be able to enter for free. In a similar vein to mark the annual celebration on May 18, museums across the UAE will offer complimentary access.

The day is also an opportunity to reflect on the challenges these institutions face as they strive to adapt to societal changes and expectations.

Co-ordinated by the International Council of Museums, it first took place in 1977 when tens of thousands of museums in more than 140 countries participated. Each year a different theme is chosen; this year's is "museums for education and research".

Here are some of the UAE museums offering free entry to visitors on Saturday.

Expo 2020 Dubai Museum

It is the newest museum to open in the UAE. As its name suggests, the Expo 2020 Dubai Museum is in Expo City Dubai, more specifically in the Opportunity District.

It will have three exhibitions titled Stories of Nations. They will delve into the UAE’s first participation at a World Expo in the 1970s, as well as how Dubai won the bid for the 2020 showcase. They will also touch on the challenges the emirate had to overcome while planning and building the Expo site, as well as the event’s postponement due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The exhibitions are poised to be a celebration of Expo 2020 Dubai as well as a way to highlight the impact of world expos as a whole.

The museum will be free to enter on Saturday and Sunday. Guided tours will be offered every 30 minutes. The museum also has a gift shop, offering Expo 2020 memorabilia, as well as a library and rentable meeting spaces.

As part of International Museum Day, a 50 per cent discount to other attractions in Expo City Dubai will also be offered.

From Monday onwards, entry to the museum will cost Dh50 for those aged 12 and above, and Dh40 for those aged between four and 11. Children under three years old will be admitted free. The museum will also be accessible through the Attractions Pass to Expo City, which costs Dh120.

Louvre Abu Dhabi

Louvre Abu Dhabi will be free to UAE residents on Saturday. Visitors have to present a valid Emirates ID to receive a pass.

With its impressive collection, the museum adapts a universal model to show connections between cultures through thoughtful curation.

It is also delving into the history of fables with its latest exhibition, From Kalila wa Dimna to La Fontaine, touching upon the storytelling tradition from various cultural perspectives.

Louvre Abu Dhabi's galleries and exhibition will be open until 8.30pm. The dome and the restaurants will be open until midnight.

Sharjah Museums

The many institutions that fall under the Sharjah Museums Authority will be open to the public for free on Saturday.

The museums reflect on various aspects of local and regional history, from maritime traditions to achievements in science and art. They include Sharjah Maritime Museum, Sharjah Archaeology Museum, Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilisation and Sharjah Fort (Al Hisn) among others.

Several of them will also be holding workshops between Thursday and May 23. These include calligraphy and wool knitting workshops as well as those exploring the nuances and process of making stamps.

A schedule can be found at

Al Shindagha Museum

Al Shindagha Museum on the banks of Dubai Creek explores the history of the emirate as well as its traditions. With photographs, artefacts and touch-screen displays, the museum traces the trajectory of Dubai’s development from the 19th century.

Al Shindagha Museum is the largest heritage museum in the UAE, featuring 22 pavilions that include 80 historical houses showcasing the development of Dubai and the country. Each pavilion has its own theme and display, including Dubai Creek – Birth of a City, People and Faith, Perfume House and Al Maktoum Residence.

Etihad Museum

Etihad Museum was established on December 2, 2016 on the 45th anniversary of the founding of the UAE. Its location on 1 Jumeirah Road is also significant as the signing of the UAE constitution, and the raising of the country’s flag, took place in the area around the museum. Union House, where the declaration that marked the formation of the UAE, is part of the museum complex. The museum’s design itself alludes to this significance, as it is shaped like a manuscript. Its eight pavilions detail the history of the UAE, delving into several significant moments that preceded the country’s formation.

Both Al Shindagha Museum and Etihad Museum will offer workshops about UAE heritage and traditions during International Museum Day. More information can be found at

Updated: May 16, 2024, 10:33 AM