Sheikh Zayed Hall
At the Sheikh Zayed Hall which beams with the glories of the past and showcases the boom of the present
The National Library and Archives documents the story of a homeland
Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Hall at the National Library and Archives (NLA) is an innovative museum experience that embraces the past, documents the present, and envisions the future. For that purpose, the latest innovative technologies and display methods are utilized to offer visitors a knowledge capsule which enhances belonging to the homeland and loyalty to its wise leadership and consolidates the national identity in the hearts of generations. It dazzles its visitors with the progress, development and prosperity achieved by the UAE in record time.
At the entrance of Sheikh Zayed Hall
Close to the main entrance of the National Library and Archives, a large, perforated metal wall art, featuring Qasr Al-Watan, Qasr Al-Hosn, Al-Jahili Fort, and Al-Bidiyah Mosque, fascinates visitors. It is fixed at the entrance of the Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Hall, where there are also large screens displaying important images taken from the memory of the nation. This hall presents the story of the UAE's past and its heritage, records important milestones in its rapidly developing present, and envisions aspects of the UAE's future as it moves towards its centenary confidently and competently. Taking advantage of modern and traditional exhibition techniques all, the Hall appears like a museum which tells the people’s story and the homeland glories. Its holding include items of specialized historical nature. First, visitors view the UAE’s two main traditional occupation: fishing and Pearl diving. In this corner, a fishing boat and a photo of a fisherman preparing his fishing nets are seen, and the sounds of the waves and seabirds are heard. There are also some antiquities including a pearl balance, a pearl scoop and some pearl beads.
The museum deals with historical eras starting from the prehistoric era through to the Islamic era. This section includes collections from the Bronze Age. It also has a large screen showing a one-and-a-half-minute documentary about some archaeological sites in the Emirates. Visitors may listen to the accompanying audio content through the state-of-the-art Sound Shower directional speaker technology.
Moving to modern history, visitors will explore the eras of the Portuguese, the Dutch, and the British presence, respectively. They have the opportunity to view historical documents related to each of the aforementioned eras on wall display, some collections and models of ships for each era.
The hall showcases the oldest six rare books, namely Description of the Arabian Peninsula, Arabic documents on Portuguese history, The Journey of Jan Huygen van Linschoten, The Arabian Peninsula: The Cradle of Islam, and History of India. Through the touch technology, visitors can review the contents of each book on small screens next to the book display cabinets.
The Union and Prosperity Era:
The Union Era begins after the end of the British presence. In this section, the NLA’s Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Hall displays original historical documents, and a 150-second documentary featuring important milestones during the time leading up to the establishment and declaration of the Union. Visitors can hear the audio content taking advantage of the Sound Shower Speaker technology. In this section, a pen from the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan’s collections and the typewriter with which the UAE constitution was written are on display.
Loyalty and appreciation:
The Picture of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and the pictures of the other founding fathers are displayed in the hall as the National Library and Archives believes in the importance of keeping their memory alive in the hearts of generations. This confirms the NLA’s appreciation of their efforts in building the Union with vigour and determination and affirms the significance of their approach and visions in shaping the present.
The hall displays an interactive book entitled Zayed the Builder and the Founder 1936-2002. Visitors can browse through the book electronically, and by touching the pictures, they can access historical information and captions.
On a set of large LED wall displays, visitors can view the six most prominent achievements made after the establishment of the union. Each screen is connected to a circle, and once a visitor stands inside it, the opposite screen displays an image of an achievement with relevant brief information. Visitors are impressed by this innovative medium, and those who are interested in learning stop to read the significant information. The screens also display information about schools, universities, museums, Mars and others.
The hall also showcases several honours and awards which the late Founder and Builder received from world leaders as well as scientific, civil and international bodies. His humanitarian giving extended to all nations and societies without exception, regardless of color, race, and beliefs. Additionally, the hall sheds light on his great role in the renaissance of the United Arab Emirates, and his contribution in building global development and peace.
Let’s Talk About the Seven Emirates:
In the middle of the hall is a special corner dedicated to the seven emirates. A screen is assigned to each emirate, and visitors can watch and listen through a special headset to historical and touristic information about it and its most prominent features. Being the largest of the Emirates, Abu Dhabi is assigned a large interactive screen, which displays its map with six icons featuring its most important landmarks: Qasr Al-Hosn, Muraijib Fort, Al-Jahili Fort, Al-Muwaiji Fort, Al-Murabaa, and Sheikh Zayed Mosque. By placing the icon on the map, the information is transformed into one of the six landmarks. Visitors can listen to introductory video clips about Abu Dhabi or watch a one-and-a-half-minute documentary about its historical and touristic details.
State-of-the-art technologies and innovative presentation techniques
The Sheikh Zayed Hall at the National Library and Archives is loaded with virtual reality (VR); it grants its visitors the opportunity to let their imagination soar to view the future of the Emirates in 2071. Sitting on an interactive seat and using binoculars, visitors can view what the Emirates will be like in its centennial anniversary, as it moves confidently towards leadership.
In the corner of Augmented Reality (AR), visitors can take a look at a falcon, a camel and an astronaut, and students can receive general questions about the United Arab Emirates. The AR technology involves the integration of digital information with the user's environment in real time to enhance one’s experience. Visitors can also capture photos of themselves on the screen with Emirati heritage elements or with the astronaut.
The National Library and Archives’ Corner:
The hall showcases the oldest television cameras, microfilm preservation techniques, and the most important oral history interviews conducted by the Oral History and Genealogical Studies Section to document the UAE’s written history and complement it with the history drawn from the memory of senior citizen narrators.
The hall also displays the most important commemorative shields, postal stamps, and coins of the National Library and Archives. It also shows the NLA’s most important exhibitions and conferences, the most important visits and the most prominent personalities it received, primarily the visits of the Founder and Builder Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan - may God rest his soul, who had great interest in this national edifice.
The hall has three large screens with three icons enlightening generations about the Emirati heritage. One of these screens provides information about Al-Nahma, a traditional sea shanty which seafarers sing while working aboard sailing vessels. Another screen gives information about Al-Mahawa, a lullaby with which a mother used to lull her newborn. The third screen displays the dance of Al-Ayyala, an authentic Emirati folk art that sees male performers singing and moving to a steady rhythm of drums.
Visitors can get some gifts from the Souvenirs Corner at the end of their visit to the hall.