Since February 2nd of 2022 (2/2/22), Dubai’s new Museum of the Future has been welcoming guests to the world of 2071. Construction of what might be the most beautiful building in the world took a little over six years and as to what lays inside – we could quite rightly say that it took fifty years – from 2021 to 2071 – for the museum’s curation to appear. I particularly like the date they chose as it will be the year that I turn 100 – should I be that fortunate. I’m halfway on that journey now and it’s nice to get a hopeful glimpse of where we may be at that time.
The Journey Starts with Hope
The journey to the future begins with stepping into a spacecraft that will transport you in right around four minutes to the Space Station ‘Hope’. It’s actually quite an amazing experience riding in the elevator as it rises six floors, you experience the journey to space on viewing screens on the wall and ceiling. While you won’t feel the rush of acceleration or the zero gravity of leaving Earth’s atmosphere, if you suspend your disbelief for a moment or two – it’s not hard to believe that you are actually arriving at a space station in the future.
There is an element of Disney theatrics to the Museum of the Future that serves it well. Cast members explain the functions of the different tools in the space station and guide you through a number of interactive experiences as you are brought face to face with what real life astronauts have long figured out – we live on a pale blue dot in a huge universe that our entire solar system fits in like one grain of sand in the mighty Sahara.
Leaving ‘Hope’ you travel to different levels or ‘chapters’ once you return to Earth.
First We Must Heal
The Heal institute is focused on repairing the damage done to our environment and saving or reconstructing the diverse ecosystems that our fossil fuel extraction cultures have decimated. The irony of this wasn’t lost on me, nor can it have been lost on the team that built the Museum of the Future. After all, it (and all of Dubai) have been built on oil money – or at best – tourism dollars that have come from an oil beginning.
Citizen – Heal Thyself
Al Waha is a futuristic spa and regeneration center where residents of the future can reconnect with themselves, heal the damage done by living in a technological society, and relax. I enjoyed this section but the fact that it was part of a tourist attraction and not an actual place to regenerate kept me a little on edge. I think I’d enjoy a full day visit to the spa of the future – but without the built in urge to move on and see the next thing.
The Future Belongs to the Children
Future Heroes is a section dedicated to children and play. Think S.T.E.M. and big technological playgrounds. Imagine, Design, and Build are the themes here. Kids and parents seemed to be having a nice time here.
The Future is Now
The Future Today was perhaps the most interesting section after the journey to Hope. Here guests learn about a variety of emergent technological trends that will shape our world in years to come. Exoskeleton suits, new building materials, a permanent stone made from captured carbon, new modes of transportation, green building materials, and much more. I would have enjoyed more of a hands on experience here. The one thing that visitors could interact with was occupied by one woman and her husband during the entire time I was on this floor. A large queue had formed behind them and I chose not to wait. It appeared to be a sort of futuristic full body medical scanner that measured your breath and other vitals to provide possible diagnosis for problems that you should look at. As I was trying to figure out what it was all about the woman shooed me away because I had been standing in the machines field of vision.
The Building of the Future
The building itself is quite remarkable in the shape, design, and function. Walking into the main foyer – I was astounded to see what appeared to be a giant metal whale floating around freely within the vaulted spaces and curiously coming down to interact and follow guests. I looked for strings and found none – after making some inquiries, I finally discovered the secrets of this gentle sentient seeming beast – but I won’t be giving any spoilers here. Suffice to say that there are no strings attached.
On the viewing deck and next to the fountain, one is reminded of just how hot it is here in Dubai. The temperatures outside were more than 110 degrees Fahrenheit when I visited.
This innovative building that leaves behind the towering sky scrapers of the present age is green by nature and has achieved Platinum LEED status, the highest possible in green buildings. The building is 77 meters tall and has 30,000 square meters of area. There are no foundations, columns, or pillars. It is powered by solar energy. The facade of the building is made of 1024 steel pieces which were manufactured by robots. While I had thought that the Arabic calligraphy might be from the Q’uran, it turns out that they are sayings and quotes from the ruler of Dubai who is also the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Among the quotes “The future belongs to those who can imagine it, design it, and execute it… The future does not wait… The future can be designed and built today.” Obviously a man who lives what he speaks.
So, what does the future hold for the Museum of the Future? One can only surmise – but it has been designed to be an incubator and utilizer of emerging technology, a place where the future itself may be written.
Admission and Tickets
As with all attractions prices will probably vary over time but one thing that probably won’t change is that you will need to book your tickets in advance. Getting a ticket on the day of your visit is highly unlikely so think ahead. Tickets can be purchased and scheduled at https://museumofthefuture.ae/en/book