Al Mahatta Museum is great for students learning about transport or the science of flight and is also an excellent resource for learning the recent history of Sharjah.
The Mahatta museum building is in fact the original terminal and fortified building and was the first airport in the Trucial States although it was nothing more than an airstrip to start with.
Al Mahatta Museum
In the 1930s it became a major airfield after the Ruler of Sharjah and the British Government came to an agreement that allowed Imperial Airways to use it. The negotiations included British shipping routes through Sharjah which would boost the emirate’s economy.
It started as a stopover en route to India and in later years to Australia but was also used as an RAF base during World War II. It continued to be used by the RAF until the British withdrew in 1971.
Until the establishment of Mahatta Airport, the area had been nothing more than salt flats but by the 1940s the British Royal Air Force extended the runway and it continued to be used until the 1970s.
A neighbouring building was a rest-house for passengers, with sections for two classes. It was actually fortified to protect its inhabitants against possible raids.
The design of the building was based on a similar one in Iraq and has watchtowers with parapets and loopholes. The rooms all opened onto to the courtyard.
You can find old photos of the airport, passengers and so on in the building as well as exhibits of pilots’ log books, aircraft engines, flight tickets, etc,
Sharjah Airport Museum
A number of old aircraft can be found in the aircraft hangar at Al Mahatta Museum including a 1962 VC10, and a 1953 Comet along with a section of an Imperial Airways aeroplane with the original cockpit, seats, etc.
The next section of Sharjah Airport Museum hosts temporary exhibitions by Sharjah municipality.
This is followed by a fabulously laid-out exhibition on the development of flight, from insects and birds through to spacecraft.
Finally, there is a theatre showing old news footage of Al Mahatta which gives you great idea of how life was in those days. It’s a stark contrast with life in Sharjah today but so interesting to see. The documentary Air Outpost was shot in 1936.
Sharjah Airport Museum is well worth a visit and will give you an insight into the historical development of Sharjah as well as giving fascinating information about the science of flight.
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Al Mahatta Museum Ticket Price
- Adults AED 10
- Children aged 2-12 AED 5
- Children under two free
- Senior Citizens 60+ free
- People of Determination free
Al Mahatta Museum Timings
- Sat – Thurs 8am – 8pm
- Fri 4-8pm
- Check Sharjah Museums website or social media for timings during Ramadan, Eid and other public holidays
Mahatta Museum Location
Free parking is available inside.
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Other places to visit in Sharjah City
- Science Museum
- Sharjah Centre for Astronomy and Space Sciences
- Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilisation
- Sharjah Classic Car Museum
- Archaeology Museum
- Central Souq
- Heart of Sharjah
- Sharjah Art Area
- House of Wisdom
- Islamic World Garden
- Al Qasba
- Noor Island and Butterfly House
- Wasit Wetlands nature reserve
- Aquarium and Maritime Museum
- Majaz Waterfront
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