Aga Khan Museum
Exterior view of the Aga Khan Museum
|Established||18 September 2014|
|Location||77 Wynford Drive, Toronto, Ontario, Canada|
|Type||Muslim arts and culture|
The Aga Khan Museum (French: Musée Aga Khan) is a museum of Islamic art, Iranian (Persian) art and Muslim culture in Toronto, Canada. The museum is an initiative of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, an agency of the Aga Khan Development Network. It houses collections of Islamic art and heritage, including artefacts from the private collections of His Highness the Aga Khan, the Institute of Ismaili Studies in London, and Prince and Princess Sadruddin Aga Khan, which showcase the artistic, intellectual and scientific contributions of Muslim civilizations.
In 1996 The Aga Khan bought the property 77 Wynford Drive from Shell Corporation. In 2002 he bought the adjacent property which together make up the Aga Khan Museum, Ismaili Centre and Park. Soon after the Aga Khan Development Network announced the establishment of these 3 projects on October 8, 2002. In 2007, the modernist Bata Shoes Head Office was controversially demolished to make way for the Ismaili centre, the Aga Khan Museum and Park. The foundation ceremony of the Aga Khan Museum, together with the adjacent Ismaili Centre, Toronto and the park in which the two will be situated, was performed by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Aga Khan on May 28, 2010. The establishment of the three projects had previously been announced on October 8, 2002 by the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN). The museum opened on September 18, 2014.
Architecturally, the museum is a design of Pritzker Prize winner Fumihiko Maki. The 10,000 square-metre structure is set within formal gardens and surrounded by a large park (Aga Khan Park) designed by landscape architect Vladimir Djurovic. The extensive site is shared with a new Ismaili Centre designed by the Indian architect Charles Correa. Maki, Djurovic and Correa worked in collaboration with the Toronto-based architectural firm Moriyama and Teshima, who worked as the architect of record on the project. 
The museum is 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 include ceramics, metalwork, and paintings covering all periods of Islamic history. Manuscripts in the collection include the earliest known copy of Avicenna’s Qanun fi’l-Tibb (The Canon of Medicine) dated 1052. 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.
The collection, which comprises some 1,000 objects, includes several superb examples of Qur'an manuscripts that demonstrate the variety of script, media and decorative styles that evolved in the Muslim world. Among them, an eighth century North African folio demonstrates the earliest style of Kufic script written on parchment. A page from the well known Blue Qur'an provides an example of gold kufic script on indigo-dyed parchment. The Blue Qur'an is considered one of the most extraordinary Qur'an manuscripts ever created; its origins are 9th-tenth century North African, and it was likely created for the Fatimid caliphs ruling from Qayrawan.
While a permanent home was being built for the collection, selected items went on tour in Europe. Exhibitions took place at the following institutions:
- Palazzo della Pilotta in Parma
- Ismaili Centre in London
- Louvre in Paris
- Calouste Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon
- CaixaForum Madrid
- CaixaForum Barcelona
- Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin
- Sakıp Sabancı Museum in Istanbul
- The Hermitage in St. Petersburg
The exhibits received wide international acclaim. The exhibit conveys both Dīn and Dunya, which can be translated as ‘Spirit & Life’ — the religious and secular aspects of life which are inextricably linked in Muslim cultures. The first exhibitions were organized in two parts: The Word of God consisting of sacred texts and related objects and The Power of the Sovereign reflecting Muslim courts and their figures. More recent exhibitions have been organized as The Word of God and The Route of the Travellers showing the geographic breadth of the Islamic world.
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- "Aga Khan to Establish Major Academic and Cultural Center and Museum in Canada" (Press release). Aga Khan Development Network. 2002-10-08. Retrieved 2009-04-28.
- Rochon, Lisa: "Maki's Aga Khan Museum Makes Its Debut", in The Architectural Record, 19 September 2014
- Spirit & Life: Masterpieces of Islamic Art from the Aga Khan Museum Collection. Switzerland: The Aga Khan Trust for Culture. 2007. ISBN 978-2-940212-02-6.
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- "Masterpieces of Islamic Art from the Aga Khan Museum". Louvre. Archived from the original on 10 December 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-02.
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- "Islamic treasures go on show in Italy". Middle East Online. 2007-03-24. Retrieved 2007-12-02.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Aga Khan Museum.|
- Official website
- "Aga Khan Park". Retrieved 2015-05-22.
- "Aga Khan Museum Online Gallery". Archived from the original on 31 May 2010. Retrieved 2010-05-31.
- "AKTC Museum Projects". Archived from the original on 6 December 2006. Retrieved 2006-11-29.
- "Aga Khan Trust for Culture". Archived from the original on 28 November 2006. Retrieved 2006-11-29.
- "Aga Khan Development Network". Archived from the original on 30 November 2006. Retrieved 2006-11-29.
- "TheIsmaili: Portuguese Jamat explores the Path of Princes". Archived from the original on 7 September 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-07.