Once Upon Time Museum
Once Upon a Time Museum in the Jumeirah Mosque
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In April 2023, a new museum which lets visitors catch a glimpse of the past opened in Dubai. Titled Once Upon A Time Museum, it features a wide collection of rare artefacts and vintage items telling about the 70s and the 80s in the Emirates.

At the museum, there are several sections. Among the exhibits are a display of famous mosques from around the globe and the front page of Al Ittihad newspaper from 2 December 1971, that announces the establishment of the UAE. One can also look at instruments for ship making; a wooden catapult; al raha (a millstone consisting of two round stones on top of each other; this tool was used in the Emirates in the 60s to grind grains); and other interesting items.

One of the exhibits: a wooden window that was used in mud houses.

The Once Upon A Time Museum is located in a popular tourist spot: the Jumeirah Mosque, on the 1st floor of the Mosque majlis (a traditional sitting area in an Emirati house). The mosque, which can accommodate up to 1, 500 people, was built by the late HH Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Dubai’s Ruler back then. The construction began in 1976 and was finished in 1979. Made of white stone, the mosque is built in the traditional Fatimid style, in which elements of eastern and western architecture are combined. This style was inspired by Abbasid, Byzantine, Ancient Egyptian, and Coptic architecture and also North African traditions.

Once Upon A Time Museum (installation view).

The Jumeirah Mosque is one of the few mosques in the Emirates which offer tours to non-Muslims. The tour starts at the Mosque majlis. Visitors need to register 30 minutes before the programme starts. While waiting, they are served Emirati refreshments: Arabic coffee, tea, water, dates, and luqaimat (sweet doughnut balls).

The Once Upon A Time Museum is open every day, except on Fridays, from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. The guided mosque tour takes place at 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM from Saturday to Thursday; there are no tours on Friday. To learn more, please visit the Jumeirah Mosque’s official website.

You might be also interested in visiting Etihad Museum and Museum Hub featuring UAE antiques.