Aga Khan Museum
Exterior view of the Aga Khan Museum
|Established||September 18, 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, Ontario. 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 was the formerly the Bata Shoes Head Office. On October 8, 2002, the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) announced the establishment of the Aga Khan Museum, Ismaili Centre and Park on the site. Although heritage groups wanted it preserved, the modernist Bata Shoes building was demolished in 2007 to make way for the project. The foundation-laying ceremony for the project was performed by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Aga Khan on May 28, 2010.
The museum was designed by 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 opened on September 18, 2014.
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 socio-economic 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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- 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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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Aga Khan Museum.|
- Official website
- "Aga Khan Park". Retrieved May 22, 2015.
- "Aga Khan Museum Online Gallery". Archived from the original on May 31, 2010. Retrieved May 31, 2010.
- "AKTC Museum Projects". Archived from the original on December 6, 2006. Retrieved November 29, 2006.
- "Aga Khan Trust for Culture". Archived from the original on November 28, 2006. Retrieved November 29, 2006.
- "Aga Khan Development Network". Archived from the original on November 30, 2006. Retrieved November 29, 2006.
- "TheIsmaili: Portuguese Jamat explores the Path of Princes". Archived from the original on September 7, 2008. Retrieved September 7, 2008.