The history of Al Ain is beautifully encapsulated in the rich and varied collection displayed at the Al Ain Museum. Inaugurated in 1971, the museum is situated in the Al Ain Oasis which is not just Abu Dhabi’s largest but also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The museum’s priceless collection, including archeological finds from 4000-year-old tombs from neighboring Al Hili, is divided into three main galleries:
- Archeology: Featuring exceptional finds from the Stone Age through the Islamic Age, this gallery is decorated with stone tools, pottery, bronze ware and more.
- Ethnography: This gallery showcases the rich calligraphic heritage of the Arabic culture including extraordinary versions of the Quran, manuscripts and the ornamented costumes of the Bedouins.
- Gifts: The unique Gifts Gallery features Arabic and Islamic art. It also includes rare gifts and souvenirs presented to Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan including a palm tree crafted in gold.
While most of the museum is devoted to the life of the people in Abu Dhabi before the discovery of oil, the modest Oil Gallery catalogues life in the early days after oil gushed into the ordinary lives of people and brought about radical transformation.