Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) has said that the $650m Louvre Abu Dhabi museum will now open in 2017 with the exact date to be confirmed shortly.
The museum was originally scheduled to open in 2012 but has been repeatedly delayed. In October 2015 officials said the opening would be pushed back until late 2016.
Now the authority has confirmed the Musée du Louvre branch will not open this year after reports in April indicated a December opening was a possibility.
“The opening date is Louvre Abu Dhabi will welcome visitors in 2017 and its opening date is expected to be announced soon,” the authority said in a release announcing the appointment of French national Manuel Rabaté as museum director.
Rabaté has been the CEO of Agence France-Muséums, the organisation established to support the creation of the museum by Abu Dhabi and France, since 2013 and has been part of the project since its conceptual phase.
He will be joined by UAE national Hissa Al Dhaheri in the role of deputy director, who headed up the Louvre project at the authority.
“The appointment of Manuel Rabaté as the Director and Hissa Al Dhaheri as the Deputy Director celebrates the spirit of the museum. Their combined alliance and strong track record leading the team here in Abu Dhabi will be indispensable as we embark on the next pivotal stage of Louvre Abu Dhabi,” said HE Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of TCA Abu Dhabi.”
Rabaté is a holder of France’s National Order of Merit and has experience working at several of France’s most prestigious museums.
His previous roles include deputy director of the auditorium at Musée du Louvre in Paris and deputy director of cultural development at Musée du quai Branly, where he managed travelling exhibitions at locations including Bahrain National Museum.
Al Dhaheri is a former lecturer of global studies at Zayed University, Abu Dhabi and today manages the relationship with French partners to oversee the Louvre Abu Dhabi project.
TCA Abu Dhabi said construction of the project is nearing its final stages after which it will enter a preparation phase for testing, art installation and development of the visitor experience.
Concrete work on the project was said to be almost finished in late 2014.
Louvre Abu Dhabi will be joined by a local branch of the Guggenheim and a museum dedicated to late UAE ruler Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan as part of a wider cultural district on Saadiyat Island
The Guggenheim was scheduled to open in 2017 and the Zayed National Museum in 2016 but both are expected to be delayed.