Despite what the name suggests, this exciting new arrival on the MENA cultural scene is a partnership between Abu Dhabi and a consortium of 16 French museums. Described as a universal museum, the stories, displays, and programmes crisscross the globe in both time and space. The objects range from the sublime to the whimsical and from the spiritual to the banal, with everything in between and beyond. The Middle East and Arabia is extensively represented, proving once again the value of exercising soft power through museums. A strong temporary exhibition programme has also been established.
The building itself is handsome and impressive. The perforated dome that cocoons the buildings and spaces below provides a stage set for an ever-changing show of light and shadow.