Aga Khan Trust for Culture – Museum Projects


Museums in the contemporary world have expanded their missions to become viable educational institutions, actively seeking to broaden their constituencies. Collections and exhibitions have become dynamic tools for instruction, debate and reflection, and for attracting large numbers to the cultural life of societies. They also act as catalysts for cultural exchange and communication, contributing to the development of civil society. It is with this perception of the new role of museums that the Trust has moved forward to include their establishment in its Education and Culture Programme. To this end, two museum projects were launched in 2003 with a mandate to oversee and co-ordinate the conceptualisation, design, building and operation of the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto and the Indian Ocean Maritime Museum in Zanzibar.

Aga Khan Museum Toronto

Conceived as an educational and cultural entity of international pre-eminence expected to attract scholars and the general public from both sides of the Canadian/United States border, AKM will be situated in a prime location, close to other important cultural institutions, in the city of Toronto.

It will present and promote knowledge of the diversity and breadth of Islamic art, through permanent and temporary exhibitions, with emphasis on Shia Islam and the Ismaili community in particular. The museum will be dedicated to the acquisition, preservation, display and interpretation of artefacts relating to the intellectual, cultural, artistic and religious traditions of Muslim communities, past and present. Artefacts will include ceramics, metalwork, and paintings covering all periods of Islamic history. Manuscripts in the collection will include the earliest known copy of Avicenna’s Qanun fi’l- Tibb (The Canon of Medicine) dated 1052. It will be the first of its kind in the English-speaking world, and will also include important collections, including those of His Highness the Aga Khan and Prince and Princess Sadruddin Aga Khan. A music programme is planned, which will work to expand knowledge of the traditional music of Asia and the Islamic world, as well as their contemporary expression.

The museum will become a repository of historical materials related to the Ismaili community and house research programmes related to each one of the aspects of its institutional mission. It will also provide a space for permanent exchanges between the Islamic and the Western worlds on educational, cultural and socioeconomic issues.

Author: ismailimail

Independent, civil society media featuring Ismaili Muslim community, inter and intra faith endeavors, achievements and humanitarian works.

4 thoughts

  1. I represent The Rowfant Club in Cleveland, Ohio. We are a book devoted group that brings speakers from around the world to our club to address us on various topics related to book collecting, culture, art and other aspects of the history of ideas. We would very much like to host someone who could speak on the new museum of Islamic art and cultrue in Toronto sponsored by His Highness, the Aga Khan. Would is be possible to discuss this with someone in Toronto? My phone numbers are 216 226 5841 qand 216 928 3464.

    The Rowfant Club is the 2nd oldest book collecting club in the United States and Cleveland has an ever-larger Muslim population as well as one of the finest library systems as well as one of the finest art museums in the world. Our guests are never bored.

    George A. Weimer IV
    Co-chair, Arrangements Committee
    The Rowfant Club
    Cleveland , Ohio


  2. Firstly, I must point out that this is not an official blog, so there should be no assumption made that the appropriate people have received your above request!

    Having reviewed much of the documentation that has been released to date about the museum project in Toronto, my suspicion is that while there are project staff in the region to look after the development, the content experts are likely the ones currently at the Institute of Ismaili Studies.

    Some articles have revealed that after the European tour of selected pieces of the permanent collection, the tour will move to the USA. This may actually provide an even better opportunity for your group, as not only would there be appropriate speakers traveling along, some of the exceptional pieces would also be there to view. I have not heard any news of specific tour sites in the USA, so it might even be early enough to have Cleveland considered!

    Three avenues for you to pursue:
    1. Aga Khan Council for Canada – ph# 416-467-7261
    2. Aga Khan Foundation Canada –
    3. Department of Information, Aiglemont –

    NOTE – I’m not sure if they are prepared for such requests, so keep with you an extra serving of patience!

    Dear moderator – If possible, could you also forward my comments directly to Mr. Weimer?

    “No belief is like modesty and patience, no attainment is like humility, no honour is like knowledge, no power is like forbearance, and no support is more reliable than consultation”
    – ‘Alī ibn Abī Tālib as quoted by Aga Khan IV


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