Museums, Exhibitions & GalleriesHistory and ancestry

Al Maktoum Residence

Al Shindagha Museum
Surface area
8460 sq ft / 786m²
Completion date
GSM Project / Photo: Craig Strydom

Dubai’s story and that of its ruling Al Maktoum family are closely intertwined. Over generations, the family has transformed the emirate city from a small creekside town into a global metropolis.

Inside the family’s former residential quarters, GSM Project was commissioned to enlighten visitors about the home, values and principles of the ruling family that have made them the leaders of Dubai for nearly 200 years.


dpa lighting consultants, Fly Studio, XYZ Technology

Photo — Craig Strydom
GSM Project / Photo: Craig Strydom

The Al Maktoum Family House is a major landmark located in the historic Shindagha neighborhood, situated along Dubai’s Creek.

The exhibition narrative showcases key developments and achievements of the Al Maktoum, embedded with the overall history of Dubai development and the Al Maktoum family tree, in particular family members who resided and were born in what is commonly known as Sheikh Saeed House. The visitor experience aims to connect Emiratis, local residents and international tourists with the rich and unique history of Dubai and its royal family.

GSM Project / Photo: Craig Strydom
GSM Project / Photo: Craig Strydom
GSM Project / Photo: Craig Strydom
GSM Project / Photo: Craig Strydom

The Al Maktoum visionary leadership transformed a small fishing settlement into a 21st century modern metropolis. Yet the story told here is not one of the nation’s building, but rather a humble and fascinating narrative about a family.

From the arrival of the Al Maktoums in Dubai in1833 to the present day, the political and economic history of the emirate takes place in its international context. The exhibition especially recounts the reigns of Sheikh Saeed (1912-1958) and his son, Sheikh Rashid (1958-1990), culminating with the current ruler, Sheikh Mohammed, who was born and raised in this house.

GSM Project / Photo: Craig Strydom
GSM Project / Photo: Craig Strydom

The scenography is in harmony with the architecture. The design is timeless and respectful of its surroundings. It expresses the vision, ingenuity, and innovation behind the family’s story.

GSM Project / Photo: Craig Strydom
GSM Project / Photo: Craig Strydom
Our creative approach

The overall exhibit approach is elegant and understated, allowing residents and international visitors to become familiar with the Al Maktoum family’s history and leadership in an accessible way, while remaining respectful of the status and dignity of the royal family.

Al Maktoum Residence is an educational and engaging experience, filled with personal stories that bring the fascinating family’s values to life.

GSM Project / Photo: Craig Strydom

Built in 1896 and occupied until 1958, Sheikh Saeed’s House is considered one of the oldest buildings in Shindagha. Converted into a museum pavilion, the house has been divided into two galleries; the first tells the royal family’s story set in the rooms in which members once lived while the second looks at the house itself – its architectural features, living spaces, and the logistics of running it.

At the heart of the building, an inner courtyard creates spaces for hosting public events, meetings, and social gatherings.

GSM Project / Photo: Craig Strydom


GSM Project designed and built the permanent indoor and outdoor exhibitions of the Al Maktoum Family House, seamlessly bringing tradition and modernity together. Key design features include the display of star artefacts and archives from the royal family alongside media based contemporary installations with augmented reality content and projection mapping. The whole experience conveys the depth and vision behind the Al Maktoum family story.