An off-beat arts and museum guide to Dubai

Here are the most unique museums & art spots you'll ever encounter in the UAE.

22 Apr 2019, words by Aneesha Rai in The Lifestyle

Jameel Arts Centre

1. Jameel Arts Centre

A brand new opening, Jameel Arts Centre located in Jaddaf Waterfront exhibits contemporary art to the public. First announced in this year’s Art Dubai, it is founded and supported by Art Jameel. The institution features 10 gallery spaces, the Gulf’s first open- access arts library and resource centre, 7 desert gardens, commissions, studio and events spaces, a restaurant, and shop. Opening programming includes a significant group exhibition, 4 solo shows, several site-specific installations and new commissions.

2. Maisan

Located in the concrete jungle that is Barsha South, Maisan is a stunning urban art collective meets restaurant space. It used to be called Cabin Dubai, but after being taken over by a famous Emirati artist called Rami Farook, it was renamed. One may say that now Maisan is truly local in every aspect. The arthouse meets restaurant/cafe offers a truly different experience. Not only can the art pieces be bought, you actually can indulge in some of the most interesting pop-ups and dining experiences that are local to the UAE.

3. Coffee Museum

Coffee beans at Coffee Museum

Located in the Al Fahidi district in Bur Dubai, Dubai’s Coffee Museum is an insider’s perspective on the popular decoction. Learn about the different types of coffee roasting & brewing techniques, as well as its influence in Emirati culture. Tour this two-floor museum, and indulge in a local cup of joe brewed in a traditional style for free. Leave the chemex at the door, because this is as traditional as it gets with old school techniques of brewing.

4. The Woman's Museum

In the midst of the gold souq in Deira, lies the Women’s Museum. Created by an Emirati woman, it highlights the role of women in the UAE throughout history so that their stories can be told. It is an interesting endeavor to check this out, considering that not much has been discovered nor said about women in the Gulf and their role in the shadows of developing nations. A fascinating exhibit located in the depths of the older part of the city.

5. Museum of Illusions

The Museum of Illusions located in the Al Seef area truly needs to be seen to be believed. Let your mind play tricks on you at this very fun and instagrammable museum that just opened to the public this year. If you enjoy optical illusions and holograms, this is your place. It houses 80 exhibits of all shapes and sizes in a unique unique visual and sensory experience. Unlike other museums, you are encouraged to interact with the exhibits, and take as many photos as you like.

6. Coins Museum

Have a look around the Bastakiya area and you might just stumble into this really interesting coin museum. Did you know the UAE initially had the rupee as its official currency? Trace the UAE’s deep cultural roots in India over at this museum. The museum is equipped with special display cabinets and magnifying screens for each coin as well as touch screens with electronic drop-down lists containing detailed information on each coin.

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