Sharjah boasts a wide array of museums, art galleries, heritage centres and wildlife venues.
Sharjah Arts Area
Close to the Corniche on the north side of Burj Avenue (Bank Road), Sharjah Arts Area encompasses five architecturally acclaimed heritage buildings and a mosque dating back to the end of the eighteenth century. These include Sharjah Art Museum, Sharjah Art Centre, Sharjah Art Galleries, Emirates Fine Arts Society and the Very Special Art Centre.
Sharjah Art Centre
Sharjah Art Centre is housed in the beautifully renovated three-storey Bait Al Sarkal that used to be the house of the British Commissioner for the coast of Oman and was later turned into the missionary hospital, where many prominent Sharjah residents were born. Next door is the Art Café. At the far end of the area, Art Studios are housed in Obaid Al Shamsi house. Closeby, the house of Abdulla Al Sari has been transformed into an area where people with special needs can realise their artistic ambitions.
Sharjah Art Museum & Contemporary Arab Art
On the opposite side of the square Sharjah Art Museum, which was opened in 1997, has a total of 32 exhibition halls, of which eight are dedicated to the private collection of the Ruler, Sheikh Sultan, who has donated them to the museum. This collection consists of eighteenth and nineteenth century oil paintings, watercolours and lithographs as well as modern paintings of local scenes. The museum has a very active programme of rotating exhibitions, covering every field of art, both local and international. The architecture of the new museum blends very well with old buildings in the square and the whole area with its narrow alleyways and traditional lighting has a very special atmosphere.
Sharjah Heritage Area
On the opposite side of Burj Avenue ,Sharjah Heritage area is devoted to local markets, including the delightful Souq al-Arsah, meeting places and small museums. This beautifully renovated district is a shining example of Sharjah’s commitment to heritage and culture that was instrumental in earning it the UNESCO title of Cultural Capital of the Arab World as well as Islamic Culture Capital.
Bait Al Naboodah
The former residence of the pearl-trading Al Shamsi family, this architecturally interesting two-storey house, built around a shaded courtyard, is dedicated to a reconstruction of traditional family life. The various rooms have displays of furniture and household items as well as children’s games, jewellery and costumes.
Majlis of Ibrahim Mohammed Al Midfa
The Majlis, situated in a beautiful building between Souq al-Arsah and the Corniche, has some delightful architectural features. It contains many interesting pieces that originally belonged to the owner, who was secretary for four rulers of Sharjah before his death in 1983.
Bait Al Gharbi
Bait Al Gharbi in Al Qasaba Square, a unique restored house belonging to Sheikh Sultan bin Saqr Al Qasimi, has three different types of cooling windtowers.
Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization
Sharjah Islamic Museum is at the historical heart of Sharjah on the Majarrah waterfront. The building first opened in 1987 as the Souq al-Majarrah and quickly became a popular landmark. It was subsequently renovated and reopened in 2008 as the Museum of Islamic Civilization. The museum houses more than 5,000 exquisite Islamic artefacts from all over the Islamic World arranged thematically over seven spacious galleries and display areas. The collection includes rare Islamic manuscripts as well as items of Arabic art, including ninth century Iranian bowls, twelfth century daggers from Morocco and jewellery from Afghanistan.
Al Husn (Sharjah Fort)
Built by Sheikh Sultan bin Saqr Al Qasimi in 1820, this carefully restored fort in the middle of Burj Avenue was the residence of the ruling family for 200 years. In 1969 it was torn down, but the present Ruler restored it with the help of old photographs and documents, his own notes and the assistance of elderly residents. It now houses a museum with exhibits on pearl fishing, education and trade, as well jewellery, weapons and old photographs.
Sharjah Archaeology Museum
Located in the heart of Sharjah near the Cultural (or Qur'an) roundabout, Sharjah Archaeological Museum is a modern lively interactive archaeological museum tracing the history of Sharjah from ancient times. A gold halter, found with a ritually slaughtered horse in a grave near Mleiha is particularly beautiful. The museum’s library houses a range of archaeological and historical books, magazines, periodicals and specialised reports.
Sharjah Science Museum
Situated in Halwan next to the Sharjah TV Station, the science museum has 50 excellent interactive exhibits covering physics, chemistry, biology and astronomy.
Al Mahatah Museum
The museum in Al Mahatah fort at the old airport in Sharjah houses British memorabilia relating to the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, the main theme being travel and transport.
Submerge yourself in this rich and diverse undersea world that is home to over 250 species of native marine life. There is so much to see from the smallest clown fish and delicate seahorses to moray eels, rays and reef sharks.
Al Eslah School Museum
Established in 1935 and the first formal educational institute to be opened in Sharjah, this school welcomed pupils from all over the Gulf region. Experience school life as it was some 70 years ago.
Bait Khalid bin Ibrahim
This house of an esteemed pearl merchant and his family, who made their home in the 'Heart of Sharjah' over 100 years ago features a traditional kitchen and typical living areas, rich bridal attire, ornate swords and daggers and, of course, a wooden pearl chest.
Sharjah Calligraphy Museum
Created by local artists and well-known international calligraphers, significant works of art from the Arab world demonstrate the complexity of this vibrant art form and its historical and Islamic foundations.
Sharjah Maritime Museum
The Maritime Museum explores the ever-present role of the sea in Sharjah's history. Traditional wooden seafaring dhows used for fishing, trading and pearling, were each designed according to their use and pearls and pearling were particularly influential in shaping the past.
Located along the Sharjah – Dhaid Highway, directly after interchange 4, this was the first interactive ‘hands-on’ children’s museum in the UAE. The exhibits are grouped into themes such as roads, shops, banks, etc. In these familiar environments imagination, play and fun are part of the learning process.
Sharjah Desert Park
The grounds of Sharjah Desert Park, which is located 28 kilometres from the city centre at interchange 8 on the Sharjah – Dhaid Highway, contain a Natural History Museum, the Children's Farm, the Arabian Wildlife Centre and an off-limits Breeding Centre for Endangered Arabian Animals.
Sharjah Natural History & Botanical Museum
The Natural History Museum opened in 1995 and was immediately very popular because of its state-of-the-art displays. Lively with light and sound effects as well as interactive features, the exhibits deal with local habitats, plant and animal life, geology and marine life.
Arabian Wildlife Centre
Opened in September 1999, this wildlife centre is often referred to as a zoo but it is definitely far more than a display of captive animals. The centre is unique in that it demonstrates the diversity of the fauna found in the peninsula and creates awareness of the indigenous species that have and are becoming extinct. All the animals are housed in spacious natural surroundings.
Bait Sheikh Said bin Hamad al Qasimi
Situated in Sharjah's enclave on the east coast In the traditional fishing village of Kalba, Al Ghail Fort and the prominent beachside residence of H.E. Sheikh Saeed bin Hamed Al Qasimi have been restored to display items of Islamic heritage and lifestyle, archaeological finds, weapons, agricultural equipment, and a collection of musical instruments.