Will British Museum Loan Artworks to Abu Dhabi?

Construction on the Zayed National Museum hasn't started yet. Photo: Saaydiyat Cultural District

Abu Dhabi’s Zayed National Museum, which is due to open in 2016, has announced that it intends to borrow more than 100 works from London’s British Museum.

The British Museum has not yet approved the list of works. However, according to the National, the potential loan agreement would come in addition to the consulting partnership that the UAE Tourism and Development Company (TDIC) signed with the British Museum in 2009. The advisory deal sought to capitalize on the British Museum’s expertise and experience on a wide range of issues such as design and construction, as well as educational and curatorial programs and training.

When the deal was signed in 2009, TDIC chairman, Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan told the National, “This great and historic institution, known for its unsurpassed expertise in every field and its profound respect for every culture, will help us make the Zayed National Museum a place of inspiration and pride for Emiratis, a beacon for the people of our region, and a source of information and understanding for our visitors from around the world.”

The Zayed National Museum, which is already three years behind schedule, will serve as the centerpiece of the Emirates’ ambitious Saadiyat Island Cultural District project. The island will also include branches of the Guggenheim and the Louvre (see Artist Sneaks Into Future Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Site to Interview Workers). Abu Dhabi has already established a 30-year loan deal with French museums to borrow works from museums including the Louvre, Musée d’Orsay, and the Palace of Versailles (see 300 French Artworks for Louvre Abu Dhabi).

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