About - Aga Khan Museum
Aga Khan Development Network


“The 1,428 years of the Ummah embrace many civilisations and are therefore characterised by an astonishing pluralism. In particular, this geographic, ethnic, linguistic and religious pluralism has manifested itself at the most defining moments in the history of the Ummah. The Aga Khan Museum Collection will highlight objects drawn from every region and every period, and created from every kind of material in the Muslim world.”
- His Highness the Aga Khan

The Aga Khan MuseumThe Aga Khan Museum will be open to the public on 18 September 2014 in Toronto, Canada. The Museum collection contains over one thousand artefacts and artworks and spans over one thousand years of history. The objects – in ceramic, metalwork, ivory, stone and wood, textile and carpet, glass and rock crystal objects, parchment and illustrated paintings on paper – present an overview of the artistic accomplishments of Muslim civilisations from the Iberian Peninsula to China.

For more information, please see the Museum website:https://www.agakhanmuseum.org/


Canon of Medicine of Ibn SinaThe Aga Khan Museum collection includes probably the earliest extant manuscript of volume 5 of the Canon of Medicine of Ibn Sina (Avicenna) dated 1052 CE. Its origins date to the early 11th century Iran, but it eventually was used all over the Middle East and Europe as the standard medical text for 500 years. The Canon formed the basis of medical teaching at European universities until the beginning of modern times. To prepare the research on the art works, to test various museological themes, and to develop relationships with key international partners, a series of exhibitions featuring selections from the Museum’s collection were organised between 2007 and 2012. Major exhibitions took place in Parma, London, Paris, Lisbon, Toledo, Madrid, Barcelona, Berlin, St. Petersburg, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Over one and a half million people saw the exhibitions, which also helped create a framework for cooperation and collaboration with museums and institutions throughout the world.

Education Programme
The Aga Khan Museum’s educational programme provides visitors with an understanding of the artistic, intellectual, scientific and religious heritage of communities, both Muslim and non- Muslim, which pervaded the lands of Islam. The Museum, through its permanent and temporary exhibitions, education programmes and cultural activities, offers insights and new perspectives into Islamic civilisations, with the aim of fostering knowledge and understanding both within Muslim societies and between these societies and other cultures.

Although Muslim societies comprise a quarter of the world’s population, people in the West have a  limited knowledge of the Muslim world and its faith. This lack of understanding spans many aspects of the peoples of Islam: their pluralism, the diversity of their interpretations of the Qur’anic faith, the chronological and geographical extent of their history and culture and their ethnic, linguistic and social diversity.

Exhibitions and Cultural Programmes
Major temporary exhibitions concerning the Islamic world will be presented in historic, geographic or thematic terms. These exhibitions will draw upon private collections and institutional holdings from all parts of the world. Smaller exhibitions on specific artists and topics will also be hosted in the temporary exhibition space.

A state of the art auditorium (350 seats) hosst music performances and theatre productions, book launches and readings, films and conferences. In addition to providing a platform for the Aga Khan Music Initiative, the auditorium hosts conferences with sister institutions such as the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture, the Aga Khan University, and the University of Central Asia, as well as seminars and symposia in collaboration with museums and cultural institutions from within and outside Canada. These events offer the public a varied and exciting cultural programme throughout the year.

Materials from the education programme in MadridEducation is an important part of the museum programming, as it has been during the exhibition of the collection in Europe over the last two years (materials from the education programme in Madrid are pictured here).

A reference library and multimedia centre, as well as classrooms and workshops for educational activities, are aimed at a broad public and all age groups. Through these programmes, the Museum provides visitors with an understanding of the art, ideas, literature and cultures of Muslim civilisations that have had a profound impact on humanity.

The abstract notion of light and the light of human creativity and openness were sources of inspiration for the design of the Aga Khan Museum by the renowned Japanese architect Fumihiko Maki.    Recent and current work by Fumihiko Maki includes the Shimane Museum of Ancient Izumo (Izumo City, Shimane, completed in 2006) and the World Trade Center Tower 4 (New York), a 61- storey skyscraper to be completed in 2012.

Maki’s design for the Aga Khan Museum is contained in a 10,000m² building within a simple rectilinear footprint 81 metres long by 54 metres wide. The four primary functions (exhibition spaces, an auditorium, classrooms and workshops, and library and media-centre) revolve around a central courtyard, which act as the heart of the building and integrate the different functions into a cohesive whole while allowing each space to maintain its independence, privacy and character.

The Museum will share the site with the Ismaili Centre, designed by Charles Correa, and is surrounded by a ten-hectare landscaped park, designed by Vladimir Djurovic. Together they constitute important landmarks and green space for the city of Toronto.