Aga Khan Museum, Toronto
The Aga Khan Museum, to be built in Toronto, Canada, will be dedicated to the acquisition, preservation and display of artefacts - from various periods and geographies - relating to the intellectual, cultural, artistic and religious heritage of Islamic communities.
Planned as a venue for large international exhibitions, the 10,000 square meter building designed by the Japanese architect Fumihiko Maki will house its permanent collection as well as major temporary exhibitions. Surrounded by a large landscaped park, the Museum will provide a forum for permanent exchanges between the Islamic and Western worlds. It will also be a major centre for education and research and for the discovery of the musical heritage of the Islamic world.
The Museum’s collection contains some of the world’s most important masterpieces of Islamic art, including the famous collection of miniatures and manuscripts created by the late Prince Sadruddin and his wife Princess Catherine, and objects in stone, wood, ivory and glass, metalwork, ceramics, rare works on paper and parchment. Covering over one thousand years of history, they create an overview of the artistic accomplishments of Muslim civilisations from the Iberian Peninsula to China. His Highness the Aga Khan’s personal commitment to the objectives of the Museum will keep the collection growing in size and importance.
Specific educational programmes on Muslim history, arts and culture will make the Museum a unique space in North America. It will be an institution dedicated to disseminating knowledge of Islamic civilisations through outreach to the widest public - school children, students, adults and families, as well as researchers, including educational resources via the web. The building will house a large auditorium with lecture, film and concert programmes, as well as a library offering direct access to specialised documentation and information from virtual sources.
The Museum’s temporary exhibitions, which will be developed in partnership with key international partners, will spotlight the diversity of Islamic arts and cultures. They will be major events that will attract the public from the densely populated areas in a 300-mile radius of Toronto. This area contains more than 76 million people.
Beyond the traditional presentation of major periods of Muslim history, original approaches will include, for example, the relationships between Islam and other cultures and the evolution of arts, sciences, religion, literature, or music in a Muslim context.
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