The Abu Dhabi National Archives is home to the nation’s history and heritage. This leading research and archival institution preserves and records all documents of the UAE and the Gulf region. Established as the Center for Documentation and Research in 1968 by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founder of the UAE also known as the Father of the Nation, the facility has existed in its current form since 2014, collecting and preserving archives to promote cultural and historical awareness and provide access to valuable research materials.
This pioneering facility aims to connect people with the history and identity of the UAE, delving into experiences and linking citizens to their history and heritage through millions of documents that relate to the region. Aiming to build a rich society, the National Archives also encourages creativity and scientific research into the history of the UAE, with conferences and seminars as well as regional and international exhibitions organised by the centre.
On top of restoring and preserving documents, the National Archives also translates and electronically stores them. A member of international institutions including UNESCO, the International Council on Archives (ICA), the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), and the General Secretariat of Documentation and Studies Centers in GCC countries, this centre plays a key role in keeping the UAE’s story alive.
Customer Happiness Hall
The National Archives houses a specially designed Customer Happiness Hall for researchers, with state-of-the-art hardware and software giving visitors all they need to do their research and discover the legacy and history of the region. The hall also provides researchers with digital lockers, in which they may place all personal belongings that may pose a danger to historical paper documents. Located close to the library, the hall is home to state-of-the-art scientific research facilities and tools.
Emirates Library is a specialised research facility that provides services for researchers, decision-makers, and graduate students. The library's services include reading facilities, loan desks, reference desks, electronic resources, and copying services. Emirates Library focuses on topics related to the UAE, the Gulf region and the world, and follows the Library of Congress’ classification system. A model reading room, based on international specifications, is attached to the Emirates Library, offering WiFi and reference services for researchers.
Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Hall
The Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Hall houses a permanent exhibition of manuscripts, documents, photos and maps to familiarise visitors with the history of the UAE. It also consists of a section in honour of the memory of the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, founder of the UAE and Father of the Nation. The hall showcases a comprehensive panorama of UAE’s history, covering more than 500 years and containing rare archaeological and heritage items, as well as historical documents that tell the story of the nation, from the time its people began searching for pearls. The hall is considered a window through which visitors can view the UAE’s rich and interesting past. The oldest document in the hall is the ‘Portuguese Cantino’ map, which dates back to 1502, being the first map of the Gulf region.
Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Hall
The Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Hall features a virtual-reality theatre, an impressive 3D interactive environment that blends fiction with reality. It features documentaries about the history of the UAE, with a sophisticated audio-visual system placing viewers in a virtual world that mimics the UAE's past and present development. The documentary films in the theatre have a great impact on visitors, especially students and kids who have the chance to view photographs that offer a glimpse into the past. The theatre is also suitable for smaller meetings.