Are you looking for something to do to during these scorching summer Dubai days? Instead of wilting in the heat or being lazy at home, we decided to give Etihad Museum a visit. When I say "we," I really mean "me." My children would have been happy staying perched on the couch texting and watching YouTube clips but a parent can only stand to watch that happening for so long. So after a few eye rolls, we were in the car and headed to Jumeirah for some cultural enrichment.
The museum is set up to give the public a better understanding of the history of the formation of the UAE, particularly between the years of 1968 and 1974. Its location in Jumeirah is noteworthy as it is the same site as the original Union House, the place where the first constitution was signed in 1971, establishing the UAE's independence. At that moment, the UAE became the first federation of the Arab world.
The sleek modern design of the building, with its symbolic curved white roof, was intended to represent the folded constitution. It is held up by seven columns which represent the seven pens used by the founding rulers to sign the original agreement. I have only seen the exterior by day, which was very pretty, but, like most buildings in Dubai, it comes to life at night. (Another mission during these hot summer days is to go back at night and take a sparkly photo.)
For me, the interior of the museum was more impressive than the exterior. Big open spaces, sweeping staircases, soft lines, and beautiful lighting make the museum stand up to the standard we have come to expect with most buildings in the city. It really was impressive walking in, and we hadn't even gotten to a single exhibit yet.
The museum's main focus is honouring the country's founding rulers and the formation of the UAE as we know it today. There are also exhibits explaining the beginning of the postal service in the UAE, a photography exhibit, a passport exhibit, etc.... What really interested my kids was the short movie on the founding rulers (shown in a beautiful small theatre) and the modern interactive displays. If there is a screen, swiping, dragging, or pointing involved, then you will have their attention. Etihad museum checked those boxes for them.
Don't expect this to be a full day outing. You can easily get through it in less than two hours (which was perfect for us.) The price is quite low at 25AED per adult and 10AED for each child (tip- you need to pay in cash.) If you happen to get hungry, there is a very nice restaurant on the top floor surrounded by natural light. Of course, underground parking is free and plentiful from what I saw. The surrounding grounds seem like they will be a place to relax in the cooler months but with the current weather situation, enjoying the outside is not what we were interested in. All in all, Etihad museum is worth a visit, especially on a hot summer Dubai day!