A new agreement has been struck between the Zayed National Museum in Abu Dhabi and the British Museum in London. While last year saw an existing 10-year loan agreement from the UK institution to the upcoming Emirati cultural space come to a conclusion two years short of the end date, a refreshed set of terms has been established.
The Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi (TCA Abu Dhabi) has announced that the British Museum will name a gallery The Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Gallery for Europe and the Middle East, which will showcase how Middle Eastern farming methods came to Europe and had significant impact on modernity. The signing ceremony took place at the British Museum between HE Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of TCA Abu Dhabi, and Hartwig Fischer, Director of the British Museum. The move celebrates the UAE’s Year of Zayed, the historical cooperation of the two nations, and the British Museum’s focus on cultural interconnectivity, but it will be further accompanied by the development of a loan framework for works from the UK to travel to the UAE once the Foster + Partners-designed structure opens.
Zayed National Museum, an eponymous museum dedicated to the founder of the UAE, will host a range of permanent gallery displays as well as a rotating exhibition programme alongside an education centre, theatre, gardens, and food and shopping outlets. Revealing both the UAE’s history and the achievements of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the numerous cultural connections forged between the Emirates and the international landscape will be highlighted. While the museum initially instigated a 10-year agreement with the British Museum, who would train local staff, consult on museum development, as well as grant a loan of 500 works, by 2017, delays on construction saw the existing agreement concluded.
While the museum is yet to formally open and new loan terms are in discussion, Zayed National Museum is continuing its programme of temporary exhibitions, talks, educational programmes and university outreach.