Dubai Museum-your cultural heritage in the UAE

A lot has been said about Dubai Museum as I read over the Internet but first hand experience is always the best way to know and learn about a place. Our own experience last Friday, the same day we visited the Dubai Creek and The Old Bur Dubai Souk, was not just merely a family bonding but also a discovery and in-depth understanding of the cultural and historical background of our host country city. Imagine standing in the courtyard of the oldest building in Dubai which is the Al Fahidi Fort - the father of all buildings and skyscrapers of Dubai :), a silent witness of everything Dubai has been through over the years, if only it can talk then it would be the best story teller ever of Dubai's past.

The fort was built more than three centuries ago with coral and shell rubble from the sea then sealed with lime, it still stands today offering a glimpse of the countries heritage to its present local people, its resident expats and tourist alike and a visit to the Dubai Museum that is housed in Al Fahidi Fort is not to be missed while it is also important to note that the fort was once the the residence of the Ruler of Dubai, it also serves as a prison and storehouse of  ammunition in the previous years.

In the courtyard is a life size model of al khaima and al arish. Al Khaima is a typical local house with several rooms of different sizes made of palm tree branches and fibers, these houses are inhabited mostly during summer as it let draughts of air pass through it. To tell you the truth, it looks like our bahay-kubo (nippa hut) in the Philippines that is made of coconut and palm trees too, the difference is that this one is a bunggalo type while the bahay kubo is elevated a bit from the ground. I can't help myself to compare, people might be different but also the same, here they'd used what is indigenous in their region to build homes.

Al Arish is a summer house with barjeel or wind tower made of burslap pieces place on top. The wind tower is an effective means to get in breeze in all direction. I stand at the bottom of the barjeel and it really does the trick. My husband joke "old type of air conditioning". well he is quite right about it.

Inside these houses are interesting and beautiful furniture, the ideas are somewhat similar to the ones used in my country ages ago too (again :)), the huge wooden mortar and pestle is used to separate the rice grain from the husks however I don't know if this one is used for the same purpose. 

One can easily fall in love with this wooden cabinet, an antique, can I take it home as a souvenir? Please? ;p.

While in my country we have the tapayan (jar made of clay) used to store water, they have the one below in metal or steel. If we have the duyan (a wooden hammock) to put the baby to sleep, they have the one below in a triangular shape.

This bed frame reminds me of the bed in my grandfathers house photographed in one of my moms wedding pictures.

On to the next part of the museum was a a gallery of swords and khanjar or daggers and in the courtyard are some canyons and old wooden boats. A waterhole or waterwell (without water) is also at the courtyard with coins at the bottom thrown by people trying to make it as a wishing well.

Entance to the main gallery is at the tower in the south-west corner of the fort where we descent in a spiral stairs. Life size dioramas with interactive videos can be seen. It all portrays the life in Dubai before the discovery of oil in the 1960s. The street is filled with vendors, buyers and traders. A tailor, a spice shop, an iron smith, a textile vendor, carpenter line the streets.

I wanted to take souvenir photos but my family walk ahead of me as I was busy taking all these pictures. I met them almost at the end of the hall where there was one room dedicated to dhow building and marine life including UAEs pearl industry.

As I move looking for them, I passed a date farm, a falaj or an oasis just like what we saw in Al Ain before, a man pulling his camel and a diorama portraying the desert life.

Finally, in another hall are archeological finds from Al Qusais. The last stop is a suovenir shop before you are taken by the spiral stairs to the sounthern exit.

All the while, I thought Al Fahidi Fort was all that comprise the Dubai Museum untill I was taken into the tower entrance down to the winding stairs into the museum. It was all beneath the dhow that seats on this flatform lies the rich heritage of Dubai.

My Yellow Bells

Carla is a lifestyle blogger based in Dubai who's thankful to call this ever-evolving city her second home. The pages of this blog are filled with stories about her expat life in the sandpit. It features dining and travel adventures in and around the city and beyond. It also features food recipes, parenting tips, and fashion style.


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  1. Ang sweet mo naman mommy Carla, salamat sa comment.
    Palaki na alaga ko, and 2.5 months to go pa, kaya medyo lie low muna sa blogging.

    Welcome back from bakasyon (late na message  ), I like seeing how you all enjoyed and made the most with friends and family…

    The Dubai Museum indeed is quite deceiving at the entrance, until one enters the gallery underground. The gallery is very transporting into the city’s past with the life-sized depiction of its olden times culture in a dimly lighted atmosphere.

    It’s perfect to couple the Dubai Museum trip to the other Sheikh House (sorry forgot it’s name) nearer to Shindagha. The historical pictures there very much tells Dubai history even clearly.

    … Oh, your ‘tapayan’ analogy reminds me of the same in my grandparents’ home then where the water taste sweet and cool.

  2. @gremlines: you know what If only I've know that place, I could have taken my family there too but that's fine, it only means that we have the more reason to come back and see those places once more, in my list is the sheikhs house, the heritage village and the bastakiya, the spice souk and again the golf souk, big kiss

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