Al Ain’s National Museum is a rather old-fashioned affair, but well worth a visit for its intriguing insights into the history and culture of the city.
The museum is divided two parts. The first section features a range of displays covering various aspects of local life, with a predictable selection of old Korans, antique weapons and traditional jewellery alongside more unusual curiosities such as the shoulder bones of cows (formerly used by school pupils as writing slates) and a quaint necklace made from Austrian Maria Theresa silver thalers (once the standard currency in this part of the Gulf). Look out, too, for the marvellous collection of photos of Abu Dhabi Emirate in 1960s, with its dusty souks, camel trains and windblown sands – all utterly unrecognizable from the contemporary metropolis of today.
The second section offers a comprehensive overview of the archeology of the UAE. The exhibits themselves are a fairly humdrum assortment of broken pots, seals and so on, although the accompanying signs paint an interesting picture of regional pre-history right back to the Sumerian era.