In light of the new trend in which Western museums are opening foreign branches in the UAE, this study focused on establishing the intentions of this trend while also exploring how the UAE will benefit from having these museums. Museums are not just a place where art and culture is preserved for the world to see. They shape history and determine a country’s stature not only in the recent but also in the future. The researcher uses content analysis to investigate the contexts of western museums and the situation in the Middle East to answer the research questions. The findings indicate that there are three main reasons for the UAE to host Western museums. First, the country wants a place at the table in the formulation of world history having noticed that the history represented in the museums is not always the accurate account as things happened. Secondly, the West is the most experienced in managing museums, and the UAE has the funding thus collaboration between the two sides is the best way to succeed in preserving global history. Lastly, cultural tourism is an actual trend that is picking up in waves, and the UAE would like to be at the forefront when the market is fully ready to embrace art and culture as part of remembering history and celebrating identities.
The Louvre and Guggenheim are some of Abu Dhabi’s latest and possibly greatest constructions, both being extensions of the global cultural world with an angle of finesse and immortality despite the lurking danger that comes with the arts and culture industry. In most parts of the world, museums are slowly fading into oblivion as governments focus investments on other aspects of their operations rather than preserving their culture and history. Even in France or Italy, reports of neglect and underfunding for museums and other cultural heritage sites are common. Therefore, the overall environment as related to arts and culture is declining and yet in the UAE there seems to be a renewed interest in museums. It is in this case important to examine the reasons behind this new interest in global culture and history particularly in a time when most other governments are too focused on their individual challenges and are thus not investing in history. One would mainly argue that the recent past has not been too kind to arts and culture considering the destruction that has been reported in some of the major historical sites, especially in the Arabic world. Egypt, for example, suffered the full impact of violence with the nation’s cultural heritage bearing most of the burden. Similarly, museums in both Damascus and Baghdad have been substantially destroyed thus further rendering most of the Middle East devoid of a cultural heritage that can be experienced and celebrated not only presently but also well into the future (Joffe,2014). Therefore, the apparent interest that UAE has towards museums is curious and warrants an inquiry. What do the Emiratis intend to achieve by building museums? Why are they creating extensions of successful western museums in the UAE and what impact would these museums have on the culture of the world as a whole, the Arabic world and the UAE? These are some of the questions that the study will be looking to answer.
Aims and Objectives
There is a growing number of western museums in the UAE, and in the foreseeable future, it is expected that this figure will continue to grow until the UAE becomes a cultural hub not only for the Middle East but the entire world. The aim of this paper is to establish why Western museums are opening branches in the UAE and what opportunities these museums have in this part of the world. As such, the guiding objectives include:
To investigate the circumstances that have propelled western museums to initiate branches in the UAE
To determine the opportunities that these western museums have in the UAE both in the short term and in the long term
The Louvre comes to Abu Dhabi by Kanishk Tharoor was published in The Guardian in December 2015. In the article, it is reported that the UAE spent over £18 billion to turn Abu Dhabi into a global cultural hub. It must be noted that this is a very significant amount of money especially at a time when global leaders are not too keen on history and culture (Tharoor, 2015). The UAE has had a very stable economy over the last few years despite the fluctuations in oil prices. Also, after years of building the nation, it can be appreciated that the UAE is finally one of the most popular destinations for business and leisure tourists alike. The influx of foreigners in the country, regardless of their reasons for visiting, makes a global outlook all the more important. In this case, it becomes plausible to argue that the presence of both the Louvre and the Guggenheim is an investment that will bring significant gain to the UAE in the long term. The magnificent buildings not only add on to Abu Dhabi’s indisputable glamor but will also contribute to the city’s reputation especially amongst art lovers and culture enthusiasts. The author of this article also states that the UAE had to pay over £660 million just to use the Louvre name (Tharoor, 2015).
Such a substantial amount of money shows the value that is attached to the project in question, based on the costs that were willingly incurred. With all this information one would agree that there is an impertinent need to explore the reasoning behind the UAE’s decision to invest in art and culture, while also unearthing the West’s motivation for cooperating with the East on a subject that was initially considered to polarize the two sides. Historically, western history and culture was not welcome in the Middle East as it was deemed to be pervasive and in most cases, unacceptable. There thus must be more to this collaboration than the simple business transaction that it is portrayed to be at the surface.
Considering that the current world contexts are mainly inclined towards economic motivations, it is important to look into the significance of a museum in the modern world. According to Falk, Ballantyne, Packer & Benckendorff (2011), touristic learning is possibly one of the most interesting aspects that make the whole traveling experience even more fulfilling. as such, while there are many reasons for which people travel the world, getting the chance to experience new things and acquire new information would make the traveling experience more worthwhile. Museums are considered as a great learning opportunity that is not just about getting to see beautiful cultural artifacts and taking pictures at historical monuments. Visiting a museum is often accompanied by a cultural narrative that enables tourists to experience a culture that they may or may not have heard of or witnessed in popular culture. For example, many people develop an interest in the Eiffel Tower after reading about it or seeing it in the movies. When such people finally decide to visit France, their experience in Paris is usually surreal as they walk through the tower and take pictures while learning some of this site’s most interesting details from the guides and the locals that they interact with. The things that they learn from that experience remain as some of their most treasured memories from the trip. Such an experience makes cultural sites like museums all the more priceless for the traveler and the tourism sector. More people would like to create such lasting memories thus they are attracted to areas that have opportunities for indulgence in culture and art with a historical dimension. The Louvre and the Guggenheim would, for example, be perfect places to make lasting memories in Abu Dhabi.
Curtis (2006) examines the fundamental differences in principles that define museums and cultural factions with keen reference to the Maori. The author finds that a museum is meant to represent culture and tradition with limited infractions in the way the story is told to the future generations. However, it was also found that the need to share an inspirational story within a global context often called for compromise in the cultural beliefs that are expected to be respected in the preservation of the story that needs to be told. For example, the subject of human remains and their treatment remains rather contentious with some cultures strictly prohibiting the disturbance of the dead in their final resting place. The excavation of Egyptian mummies would, for example, be considered an abomination in so many levels and yet still allowed as a compromise for studying Egyptian history and taking it to the rest of the world. This article presents a context for the consideration of the collaboration between the UAE and the West concerning culture. The UAE may not agree with most of the perspectives of the West especially in social issues, but when it comes to telling the stories of the world, the two polarized spheres should be able to work together. This seamless fusion of culture means that when the UAE seeks to open a Louvre and a Guggenheim in Abu Dhabi, such a move should not be interpreted as a shift in the region’s cultural inclinations. However, the UAE’s intention to host Western Museums represent the region’s willingness to collaborate and give the past a future.
Flexner (2016) in his article, Ethnology collections as supplements and records: what museums contribute to historical archaeology of the New Hebrides (Vanuatu), discussed the role of museums in historical archaeology. Archaeologists dig up the past to tell stories that may have been long forgotten and are considered important to the cultural heritage of a given people. The past, within ethnic contexts, is often considered as a key to the future. People that know where they came from are likely to find out where they are headed to, or so they say. These aspects of history that are represented in a museum tell of the various influences that have shaped the people in the many contexts of their lives including social, political and cultural fronts thus helping them to justify their actions and beliefs. In the article, Flexner (2016) notes that archeological objects provide evidence of the people’s existence thus giving them a reason to live. This evidence is carefully preserved in a museum and passed on to the future generations. The museum, in this case, is thus seen as a continuity for the people, with the western museums in the UAE not only representing continuity for the French or the Americans but the whole world including the Arabs and even Africans.
In Appropriate museology and the “new museum ethics.” Honoring diversity Christina Kreps posits that not long ago; museums were closely linked to the concept of diversity. Therefore, unlike in the past where museology was focused on consolidating individual perspectives of history and culture and thus representing communities in a specified context, new age museums are more like a collection of many varying views. According to Kreps (2015), this new perspective about museums means that having western museums in the UAE is not strange; rather it only depicts the social and political differences between East and the West. As such, the new Louvre in the UAE can maintain its French outlook while also telling stories from the Middle Eastern perspective without looking conflicted. It is anticipated that this Louvre will have some borrowed cultural material from France, while also covering global culture from a Middle Eastern perspective. Fusing the West and Arab in such a manner presents the possibility that the presence of the western museums in the UAE is not in any way related to western imperialism and thus that the rest of the world is likely to benefit from this new trend. Having renowned museums opening in other parts of the world takes the global culture to other regions of the world thus providing cultural exchange devoid of imperialistic connotations. In the UAE for example, the public will be able to experience French culture from their local perspectives rather than being told what to see and what to believe. Opening western museums in this case thus benefits both sides in the cultural and historical transaction.
Carbonell (2012) explored the relationship between museums and identities, with a focus on national, postnational and transcultural identities. In this research, it is established that while museums are operated on the premise of holding on to history and preserving ancient narratives for the purpose of defining people in their original compositions, the modern museums have changed significantly to embrace the diversity of the present world in its postnational and transcultural contexts. Furthermore, Carbonell (2012) argues that the particular contexts of the museum in the past are not the same presently and this makes museums relatively different entities regarding their representation. This departure from the political inclinations means that a museum that is known for perpetrating specified societal values in one location can be trusted to take on a relevant perspective within a different social and national context. Thus, when international museums open in Abu Dhabi, it is not directly representative of the UAE’s complacency with the outside perspectives of history and culture. The argument drawn from this essay is thus that the UAE can host foreign museums without having to subscribe to the notions and interpretations initially propagated by these museums in their home country. The changing face of the museum enables transcultural denotations without undermining the effect of the content in either case. Therefore, while the original Louvre or the Guggenheim presents the social interpretations that are relevant to their social contexts the new ones in the UAE will not follow these presentations to the letter. Rather, they will be set and based on the interpretation and settings of the UAE thus indicating that the project is more for the UAE than the French or the Americans from whom the museums in question are leased.
Lu (2014) examined the role of museums in power and politics with China as a case study. According to Lu (2014) findings, museums are often used by the ruling class to tell the stories that fit in with their desired narratives to shape the social contexts of the people within a given society. A museum is considered an accurate account of natural history, which means that it is easy to believe. China has however shown that a manipulating natural history is not as difficult as it may seem, and this nation’s museums have been central to the historical conspiracies under the various Chinese regimes. Rewriting the history of China is considered a step towards marketing the country and creating an attractive national image. If this perspective is used to view the opening of the western museums in the UAE, one would argue that there would be many conflicts between the actual Louvre in France and the new Louvre in Abu Dhabi as each government would seek to create a different narrative of history. The depiction of the UAE will not be as appealing in the Louvre in France as it will be in the UAE one. These conflicts would thus draw attention to the relevance of the museums in preserving and passing on history and culture considering that they are easy to manipulate. The role of a museum in shaping the politics, power, and identities of a nation cannot be ignored and neither can the role of the government and the ruling elite in dictating the image of the society. It is in this case thus expected that the UAE is looking to gain something more from the recent opening of western museums.
In Art/Museums: International Relations Where We Least Expect it by Christine Sylvester it is argued that the museums have a role to play when it comes to international relations. Ideally, international relations is about how one person interacts with other people from another country. Furthermore, the perspectives of a given nation held within another country would determine the relationship between the two nations. As such, historical depictions of other countries within a country’s museums have an impact on their international relations (Sylvester, 2008). In the case of the UAE and the west, it can be anticipated that the West depicts the UAE in a negative light as does the UAE about the west. This conflict of ideologies explains the strained relations between people from the West and those from the Middle East most of whom consider westerners as destructive Kafirs and infidels. However, this is the ideal scenario. In reality, the perspectives of the Middle Eastern people and westerners of one another are more shaped by traditional culture and the new media than history and cultural artifacts in the museums. In the present contexts, however, international relations are mainly about the political interactions between two countries. The representation of one country in another’s history, in this case, is considered an indication of the relationship between the two nations in question. For example, China’s depiction of Britain, especially in relation to the Opium Wars in their history, indicates the passive aggressive interactions that the two nations have. Within the contexts of the UAE and the US or France, it is likely that the historical and cultural content in the museums will be carefully doctored to suit both interests. The museums can in this case be considered as an olive branch and a symbol of good faith, with the involved nations working towards productive collaborations in the future.
Webb (2006) posits that the Sami people have been able to provide a different narrative of their culture and history by creating their museums rather than relying on the western museums to represent them. This argument presents a new perspective in the reason behind Western museums in the UAE. The Louvre and Guggenheim in the UAE are not necessarily franchises like a Starbucks outlet. The museums are meant for a global cultural experience, but they are also set to tell the Middle Eastern story from a Middle Eastern perspective. It can thus be considered that perhaps the UAE was looking to tell their narrative based on their experiences to help the world to see what being Middle Eastern precisely means. For years on end, the West has been accused of rewriting history to suit their interests and the museums were not spared from this suspicion. The presence of renowned museums away from the West might thus constitute an attempt by the Middle Eastern world to tell their story without being patronized or edited by the west. Demystifying the UAE in the West is the reason why the Emirate is paying over 600 million euros for the Louvre name alone. If the Louvre was taking responsibility for the new museum things may have been different regarding autonomy and capacity for the UAE with regards to the presence of these western museums.
The nature of this study is an inquiry with the aim of finding an explanation for a contemporary phenomenon. The researcher thus sought to follow a qualitative approach guided by the grounded theory. The researcher is in this case expectedly not an active participant in the phenomenon under observation as there is no cause to manipulate the situation. It follows that the main course of action is thus observing through existing sources and studies to develop a comprehensive understanding of what museums are about and the significance of western museums in the UAE. A content analysis was considered as the most efficient data collection method owing to a large number of potential sources on museums and their role in modern society. The idea is to understand what role museums play and thus examine the contexts of the UAE to determine the intentions of the relevant authorities in opening Western museums within the UAE. Positivism and symbolic interactionism thus guide the researcher through the process of collecting and analyzing information that is relevant to both the subject and the context of the study. The main concerns, in this case, include the relationship between the West and the UAE, the role of museums in the West and in the UAE and the political contexts that are associated with the future of the UAE among other things.
Results and Discussion
Reasons for Western Museums to Build Branches in the UAE
According to the Louvre’s official communication, the Abu Dhabi location was agreed upon based on the city’s true cosmopolitanism that implies access to multiple cultures and orientations (Al Bustani, 2015). The UAE is not like any other state in the Gulf region, less than 50% of the population is originally Emirati with most of the people there either passing through or temporarily there for employment, business, education or medical reasons (United Arab Emirates Population, 2016). These statistics make the UAE a central location for a global cultural exhibition that welcomes people from all over the world. Also, one would cite the position of the UAE with regards to the global economy. The UAE has one of the highest GDPs in the world and coupled with enough space to undertake vast and expensive projects such as the global cultural complex on Saadiyat Island. The Saadiyat cultural project is currently considered an uninhabited and yet lucrative and luxurious island off the Abu Dhabi Emirate. Aside from the diplomatic arguments presented by the relevant authorities on either side of this phenomenon, the findings of this study highlighted many interesting arguments that justify the move for world-class museums to create off-shore branches in the UAE.
Cultural districts in the UAE-The recent past has seen growth in prominence amongst the cities in the GCC. People across the world have only started noticing places such as Doha, Dubai, and Abu Dhabi among other cities thus setting these areas on the tourism radar. With an influx of tourist activity in the region, the governments have considered it prudent to tap into the growing industry with an exceptional focus on cultural tourism (Snoj, 2015). People do not visit the Middle East to bask under the scorching desert sun or to drench themselves in the extreme temperatures that are customary in Abu Dhabi and its neighboring cities. The culture of the Middle Eastern people is not unique, but also wildly fascinating. The world has been exposed to the violence and harshness of the Arabic community, and it is only recently that the real Arabic culture became a subject of interest even in the mainstream media. Aside from the beautiful people in the Middle East, there is a fascinating history and modern culture that sets the region apart despite its universal nature. The pluralistic character of the UAE makes this region an instant gem in the growing niche of modern cultural tourism. Italy, Greece, and Israel are a constant reminder of what a rich historical context can do as a unique selling proposition within the tourism industry. Embracing the historical attraction of the UAE to reshape the nation’s identity is a considerably original route to take, but in this case, the amount of money that the UAE government is spending in creating their first cultural district implies a steadfast commitment to the whole cultural agenda.
On the now famous Saadiyat Island, there are three museums all of which are new and international in their orientation, along with a maritime museum aimed to showcase the country’s rich maritime industry. The island is also meant to host a New York University campus that will add on to its international flare. Collectively, the government is spending more than $100 billion on the project, and this translates into serious ambition considered that the island was until recently uninhabited (Leech, 2014). The government is only creating the cultural district that consolidates some of their greatest cultural attractions in one area with the aim of redefining what makes the UAE an important destination for tourists. The fact that these cultural attractions are not limited to the components of UAE culture means that the site will also be looking to benefit from the local populations. It can thus be argued in this case that the UAE sought out the western museums to internationalize their cultural districts as part of the nation’s ambition to become a tourist hub in the future. The Emirate still lags behind in terms of the prominence of their cultural industry, but by working with the West, they are likely to gain not only the experience but also the exposure that will boost this ambition and make the UAE a cultural hub for both local and international tourists.
Geographical position of the UAE- The entire Middle Eastern concept indicates a position in a central location when it comes to the distance between the East and the West. The UAE thus provides a middle ground for the East and the West, not only regarding the physical distance but also in cultural history. The East, including countries like China and India, are extremely different from the West, which includes countries in Europe and the US. While the monism embedded in the political and legal contexts of the UAE present a very distinct removal from the imperialistic disposition of the West, it can be stated that the Middle East is closer to the West than the East has ever been. The Middle East is more modernized than most of the East mostly owing to the level of exposure and proximity to the West. Also, it is important to note that people from the East often have to pass through the UAE on their way to the West. Also, most people from the West go to the Middle East on their way to the East. This transportation paradigm means that the UAE experiences a high foreign human traffic that it is only natural that the government would look to tap into this traffic. Cultural tourism is in this case considered as the greatest alternative especially for a future world where culture and history are considered as such great treasures (Leech, 2014). Each nation in the world is currently working towards strengthening their identity in the global community. The UAE’s position offers a unique chance to consolidate all these identities, new and old, to be experienced in one cosmopolitan and uniquely modern location which in this case is the cultural complex that features world class museums from the west. The nation’s unique location places them in the center, with direct access to the East, West, North, and South.
It can also be considered that the geographical position of the UAE has favored this nation in economic contexts by enabling that Emirate to attract large investors and qualified laborers from both sides of the planet. The UAE is thus considered not just an incredible place to visit but also to live and work. Availability of employment opportunities in the UAE explains the large population of tourists and expatriates in the nation. With this in mind, it can be considered that the need to create a global cultural center in the UAE is part of the nation’s attempt to market the region to tourists and expatriates alike. The West has for the longest time dominated the world with regards to cultural and historical representations. To some extent, it can even be argued that the world’s history is mainly presented through the eyes of the West. Changing the location within which the global culture is experienced is arguably a step towards ensuring neutrality in the narrative of culture and world history. However, this is a theoretical perspective that will only be confirmed once the museums are open and fully stocked with cultural and historical objects.
Economic advantage- Museums in the West have been experiencing a bit of a bad time with regards to funding. Most museums are currently broken with the financial constraints of governments in Spain, Italy, England and many other parts of the world (Faiola,2016). A museum is generally an expensive endeavor considering the amount of work it takes and the experience and knowledge needed to preserve history and culture. Unlike the West, the UAE is economically stable. While the nation is still developing, and has not yet reached its peak in terms of infrastructure and social welfare, the government has the funding to indulge in building a legacy in the global cultural field. This means that the UAE has sought out Western museums mainly because they feel they have the economic advantage over the west and can thus do a better job of preserving global culture and history. It must, however, be noted in this case that the UAE is not attempting to take over completely from the west. Though most museums in the west are considerably falling behind in terms of their maintenance owing to the limited funding, most of them continue to enjoy prominence regarding publicity and thus traffic. These museums in the West remain attractive to visitors such that they are deemed just as necessary as they were in the ancient times. Western governments may have moved their focus from funding museums but these museums continue to play a useful role in the tourism industry with a unique impact on cultural tourism as people still travel long distances to experience cultural and historical artifacts that tell a story of specified identities (Cheung & Nguyen, 2011).
These museums in the UAE are also set to add on to the nation’s economic advantage by channeling more tourist traffic to the UAE. The Louvre museum is for example configured to borrow art materials from the main Louvre in France. French history enthusiasts in the East and some parts of Africa will be more comfortable going to the UAE to experience these cultural and historic objects compared to if they were to go to France. Therefore, other than the already high number of foreigners visiting the UAE, the global cultural site will bring in more cultural tourists for whom the West was a bit too far to visit for a chance to experience global culture and history. The UAE has many advantages that make it one of the world’s strongest economies and creating the global cultural complex not only adds on to the nation’s glamor but also to their economic strength. The tourists going to visit the museums will also be able to experience other aspects of the Middle Eastern culture including their hospitality. Thus, boosting local business and building the nation’s tourist portfolio to make it one of the most popular destinations globally, not just for business and work but also for learning and experiencing the history and cultures of the world.
Political agenda-The Middle East is often considered as a central location for the consolidation of the Arab world. Furthermore, it is likely that the UAE is working towards a political agenda with respect to redefining the history and culture of the world. By creating a global cultural complex that is away from the West, the UAE may be looking to redefine the power matrix of the world by distributing the centrality of historical and cultural prominence away from the West to be shared equally amongst the various corners of the world. The Middle East and the West have not been in complimentary historically, and despite their recent agreements to collaborate towards building a better world, the suspicion remains rife with regards to the connotations of the current interactions. These two parts of the world need each other, but at the moment, it may appear that the West needs the Middle East more. The West, in this case, can thus be said to probably have agreed to the idea of western museums in the Middle East despite the risks involved, as a trade-off to keep the museums open and operational at a time when they cannot afford it. The UAE on its part then is likely to have become a party to the transaction based on their agenda to use the global cultural complex as leverage in carving out a new position for themselves in the history of the world. It must be noted in this case that unlike China and other nations in the East, the Middle East is often forgotten in historical narratives with the region only being referred to by outsiders. There are very few first person references of the Middle Eastern people in world history.
Short Term and Long Term Opportunities for Western Museums in the UAE
Cultural tourism – The global tourism industry is currently very lucrative as people get the chance to travel the world and experience new cultures. With the contexts of cultural tourism that enable specified trips to culturally rich parts of the world, it can be anticipated that the UAE will be receiving many visitors from other regions of the world as well as from the west. Despite being a part of the western museums, it can be anticipated that the museums in the Middle East will have a different narrative with regards to their representation of the history and culture of the world. Western and Chinese museums were used by the ruling class to dictate how history is remembered and it is likely that the Middle East will also be seeking to use their power in the global cultural complex to polish their image for the future generations (Faiola,2016). The growth of cultural tourism as more people become interested in the past means that these new museums will attract vast multitudes of visitors and thus make the UAE a favorite destination for cultural reasons. The fact that a university is part of the complex on Saadiyat Island means that the compound will also be used as a research center for global arts and culture.
Global cultural reorganization – Western museums are considered as the epitome of the world culture with museums like the Louvre being a must-visit for cultural enthusiasts all over the world. With the new museums in the UAE, the country can reorganize the global contexts on arts and culture. People will no longer have to go to the west to be well acquainted with the history and culture of the world. Instead, scholars from the East and the South will comfortably rely on the UAE for their historical and cultural experiences within the collections of the global cultural complex. Scholars from the West are also expected to visit these museums to experience art and culture from a different perspective other than the severely edited scripts presented by the Western museums. In more ways than one, it can be argued that the western museums in the UAE will be used as a defiant symbol with regards to the western tendencies of altering historical narratives to suit political agendas.
Growing regional economy – Other than the fact that a museum is expensive to run, the ambitious UAE global cultural complex project is expected to be very economically rewarding based on the number and quality of visitors that the project is supposed to receive. The visitors could be students, expatriates, citizens and tourists who get to contribute to the nation’s economy in one way or another in the duration of their visit to the museums. The UAE can thus expect some economic growth once the global cultural complex becomes operational and registers a sustainable number of visitors. Higher traffic means more money spent in the local businesses in the area such as transport, accommodation as well as food and beverage. All these businesses contribute to the economy through taxes and the provision of jobs.
The UAE and the West have for a long time had a complicated relationship with the UAE being strict on their stance against Western imperialism as they uphold and preserve their culture and heritage in the face of high tidal waves of globalization and modernization. The recent opening of western museums in this part of the world was thus more or less a curious development based on the significance of a museum in a national and global context and the age-old awkwardness between the West and the Middle East. In this study, it was established that the UAE has social, political and economic interests that are tied to their preservation of the world’s culture and history. The nation stands to gain on all these three fronts when the museums on Saadiyat Island open sometime next year. Socially, the UAE will be able to define how they are remembered as a people. Being in charge of some of the world’s largest global cultural centers gives the nation the chance to dictate their place in history just like the West and China have done. Economically, these museums make the UAE more attractive to cultural tourists thus boosting the nation’s economy based on the anticipated increase in traffic. As more people visit the UAE, the GDP is expected also to grow since the local businesses will have a larger customer base. Politically, the higher GDP will improve the UAE’s stature thus making the nation stronger not only in the region but also globally. Also, being the largest global cultural center in the region will give the Emirate some power with regards to how other countries are remembered in world history. Furthermore, the Emirate government seems to have realized that value that culture plays in creating or cultivating an international culture. As such, the UAE wants to use Western Museums as a platform to cultivate the culture of cultural tourism in the UAE and create a positive reputation globally.