Natural History Museum Abu Dhabi is expected to be completed by the end of 2025. Credit: Mecanoo.
The museum will display some of the rarest specimens from Earth’s natural history. Credit: Mecanoo.
Visitors will be engaged through audio-visual interactives and themed environments from around the world. Credit: Mecanoo.
The museum will join other cultural institutions and museums located on Saadiyat Cultural District. Credit: Mecanoo.

Natural History Museum Abu Dhabi is a new museum being developed in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. It will display some of the rarest wonders of natural history.

The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) announced its plans to build the museum in March 2022. Enabling and marine works have started at the museum’s construction site and are expected to be completed by the end of 2025.

The museum is expected to become one of the leading cultural centres of the world. It will feature several significant artefacts and will be supported by world-leading scholars and natural history experts.

The new facility will also serve as an institution for scientific research and teaching and a resource to learn about the evolving story of our planet. It is aimed at motivating visitors of all ages and nurturing the next generation of enthusiasts who are curious and passionate about natural history.

When complete, the museum will create employment opportunities for curators to cover the full spectrum of natural sciences.


The Natural History Museum Abu Dhabi is located in the Saadiyat Cultural District on Saadiyat Island.

It will be joined by diverse cultural institutions and museums including Louvre Abu Dhabi, Zayed National Museum and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, which are part of Abu Dhabi’s strategy to position the city as a centre of culture and arts.

Natural History Museum Abu Dhabi design details

The Natural History Museum Abu Dhabi will occupy more than 35,000m² (376,737ft²) of space. Its design is inspired by natural rock formations, reflecting its goal to understand and engage with the natural environment. Water and vegetation are other key elements of the museum’s design symbolising life in the desert.

Every design element of the museum uses geometry as an overriding theme and includes pentagonal shapes resembling cellular structures.

Facilities at Natural History Museum Abu Dhabi

The museum will include natural history specimens, and engaging audio-visual interactives narrating to the visitors about the evolution of the universe, Earth’s formation and the history of life on the planet. It will include themed local environments and environments from around the world.

Visitors will be able to tour the place from the central atrium to the permanent exhibition galleries along with flexible, rotating temporary galleries. The museum is also expected to include an immersive theatre and a dedicated children’s gallery.

One of the highlights of the museum’s collection will be a 39-foot-long (11.7m) Tyrannosaurus rex fossil going named Stan. The 67 million-year-old fossil was found in South Dakota, US, and is one of the most complete specimens found to date.

Another artefact that will be displayed at the museum will be the Murchison Meteorite, which crashed in Australia more than 40 years ago. The specimen contains compounds that are considered to have formed more than seven billion years ago, long before our solar system was formed. Several other artefacts will also be on display at the museum as part of its curatorial vision.

The museum is also expected to house a scientific research facility, which will undertake studies across areas such as zoology, palaeontology, marine biology, molecular research, and earth sciences.

Contractors involved

DCT Abu Dhabi selected Mecanoo, an architecture firm based in the Netherlands, for designing the museum.

Alec, an engineering contractor based in the UAE, was selected by DCT Abu Dhabi as the main contractor for the construction of the Natural History Museum Abu Dhabi in 2022.

Dutch Foundations, a ground engineering company based in the UAE, was selected to provide enabling works, piling works, shoring works, marine works and soil improvement works for the project.

EllisDon, a construction company based in Canada, was appointed to provide project management and design management services. The company acted as the client’s design manager during the project design and resumed the role of an engineer during the construction phase.