DCT Abu Dhabi reopens Delma Museum

Monday, November 13, 2023


DCT Abu Dhabi has reopened the Delma Museum following the completion of a major restoration initiative.

The Delma Museum was built around the turn of the 20th century.

The site of the museum is on the Delma Island which is 42 kilometres off the coast of Abu Dhabi.

It was once the home and the base of commercial operations for the pearl merchant Mohammed bin Jassim Al Muraikhi.

Visitors will experience Abu Dhabi’s history.

A collection of objects that narrate the story of the house, the pearl trade and daily life on the island more than a century ago are some of its historical highlights .

Visitors will also be able to experience a majlis (reception room), a badkesh (windcatcher).

It is a system that captures the breeze and funnels it into the majlis and several midbasah (date presses) where they stacked dates to get date molasses.

Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of the Department of Culture and Tourism-Abu Dhabi, said that conserving and reopening Delma Museum is an important milestone in their cultural strategy.

It is for the emirate and part of their mission at DCT Abu Dhabi.

It is to preserve their cultural and historical heritage, foster pride in their national identity and sharing Abu Dhabi’s story with the world.

Delma Museum’s historic structure is of significant architectural importance as a prime example of the early coastal architecture of Abu Dhabi.

From 2019 until 2021, DCT Abu Dhabi conducted regular repairs to maintain the museum while it was closed. It instituted a major conservation programme to combat rising dampness on the walls and floors.

It is a perennial problem in buildings of this type. A major reason for the deterioration of historical buildings in the centre of the Delma community.

For the first time in Abu Dhabi, an innovative solution for this problem was implemented by successfully installing a waterproof membrane underneath the building’s floors and walls.

All the building’s decorative elements were conserved using compatible mortar and plaster mixes while the surrounding landscape was redesigned.

The discoveries made during the conservation project, such as traces of the original mud mortar, also shed light on coastal building techniques.

DCT Abu Dhabi’s initiatives to safeguard and develop the rich cultural resources on Delma Island will continue in the coming years.

A similar programme of conservation interventions will be undertaken to repair and restore the island’s historic mosques.

Additionally, DCT Abu Dhabi will prepare a site management plan and heritage masterplan for the Delma downtown conservation area and the island.

It is in consultation with key stakeholders, to ensure the protection of Delma’s cultural heritage for future generations. It is also for stimulating sensitive and sustainable development.

These efforts are part of Abu Dhabi’s long-term Culture and Identity Strategic Initiative.

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