Al Ain Palace was built in 1937 and then extended by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan who used it as his residence until 1966. It was heavily renovated and converted to a house museum in 2001. Some of the original architectural features typical of Al Ain’s Transition Period can still be seen in the Palace.
The museum is a cultural and historical location where visitors can experience the Emirati way of life in the 20th century, and learn about the private and political life of the ruling family, especially that of Sheikh Zayed. The restoration added two new buildings to the complex, one of which houses administrative offices and a section that displays artefacts gifted to the museum by the local community. The other building shows the Al Nahyan family tree, providing knowledge of the country’s rulers and their lineage.
A large, modern tent in the museum complex is a reminder of the traditional tent that Sheikh Zayed used to receive guests. The tent mirrors Bedouin tradition and Arab hospitality. A courtyard in the museum has a Land Rover, similar to the ones Sheikh Zayed preferred using for his travels across the desert.