Looking to the future in the Museum of the Future, Dubai.

Are you curious about what the future will look like for humankind? Are you ready for a voyage to explore the possibilities?

Indeed, I am!

Please join me as I share some snippets from my recent experience at the Dubai Museum of the Future.

On arrival my first impression is the immaculate, airy, and futuristic architecture and design of the building both outside and inside.

Dubai Museum of the Future

In the foyer there are wise words to greet the visitors. This particular inscription resonates with me:

“We may not live for hundreds of years, but the products of our creativity leave a legacy long after we are gone.” *

I don my wristband provided for the purpose of access control and with its scannable code to enable (literally) hands-on experiences and interactivity with many of the features on display. I am ushered into an elevator with my husband and a small group of other visitors, together with a guide (in person or digital at times).

Up, Up, and Away! Get ready to use your imagination.
The elevator is a now a rocket ship: the start of the journey to space. Feel the exhilaration and rapid ascent. See the spectacular views of Dubai below; other views looking back on Earth; views of planet Earth itself from far beyond. The doors open and we arrive at Orbital Space Station Hope (OSS Hope), the centre of the SOL energy project envisioning a world powered by solar energy. OSS Hope is a hub for science and innovation. The space exhibits are informative, educational, and interactive.

I am drawn to this quote “Space is for everybody” Christa McAuliffe 1948-1986, NASA STS-51-L, Space Shuttle Challenger.

On a fun note, an interactive themed attraction enables me to imagine myself as a future astronaut.

It’s time to get back to Earth.

We leave OSS Hope. On the way to the next level, the windows depict glimpses of Dubai in 2071. We head towards the next stop. It is the ‘HEAL’ exhibition with the theme of the future on Earth, and covering many challenges but also great innovative opportunities. We are told ‘At HEAL we are working to repair the Earth’s natural ecosystems’ ‘with the help of Artificial Intelligence and Bio-design’.

Today’s first focus is the Rainforest and in particular, the Amazon is digitally represented. How can we repair the damage from years of deforestation?

Next, it’s THE LIBRARY “HEAL’s DNA vault, where we store the genetic code of thousands of species” The displays of species are a scintillating spectacle! A hand-held remote device can be pointed at each exhibit to retrieve specific and more detailed information.

We are then welcomed to the HEAL Observatory and HEAL’s ecosystem simulator, where the impact of new species on their environments can be tested. When released into ecosystems around the world the impact of new species will be closely monitored.

There are many possibilities to ponder. For example, a fire-resistant tree – that sounds interesting!

I continue my descent using the stairway and arrive at the Al Waha (Oasis), where the theme is future happiness and well-being. The interactive experiences cover calm and connection, the senses and spirit. I admit that although I checked out what was on offer I spent relatively little time there which is ironic (but not unexpected for me). The theme is about life balance and taking time to look after our own health and wellbeing. I have something to work on – or rather just do more of calmly and enjoy! Another time I’d spend longer in this area.

As I descend the stairway I am increasingly intrigued and I find myself entering the exhibition hall, ‘TODAY TOMORROW’, This is ‘an ever-changing display of near future technologies’.

The room houses an array of prototypes and currently available technological products. It is a very interesting and informative exhibition, that also encourages us to look beyond the present to the possible. ‘Technology might be part of the solution of addressing our future needs but what questions are we asking of technology today?’ Here are some of the questions:

Questions Today Tomorrow

[On a different level there is a floor dedicated to a playground for children with their own world to explore, immersive games for their enjoyment, and challenges to complete, on their way to becoming “future heroes”. (Another time I’d bring the grandchildren).]

As I leave the Museum of the Future, I can report back that this is a thought-provoking voyage that also captures the imagination. ‘The ancestors plant the trees, the descendents enjoy the shade.’

As one thing leads to another, such tempting tasters can increase the appetite to explore further. If you are local or happen to be in Dubai, I would highly recommend this experience.

by Dr Julie Charlesworth 21/11/22


[*His Highness Sheik Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum as inscribed on the Museum of The Future.]