This late-19th-century palace overlooks Dubai Creek and was the epicenter of power until the mid–20th century, as the former home of Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum, grandfather of the present sheikh, who ruled the emirate from 1912 until his death in 1958. The house was a majlis, or meeting place, where all major court decisions were made. Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum House was restored in 1986 and offers Dubai's last example of traditional large-scale, high-quality domestic architecture. All the rooms open off a large courtyard and each is decorated with fine carpets, furniture, and life-size figures performing what were common tasks. The upper galleries offer excellent views down the creek, where you can imagine the sheikh surveying the land and waterfront quays.
Aside from its noteworthy architectural elements, Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum House also holds several interesting collections. Two wings of the house have been converted into galleries that display photographs of Dubai taken
throughout the 20th century. The Al Maktoum Wing holds mainly images from the late 1940s and early 1950s, many of which chart projects that brought Dubai into the technological age. In contrast, those in the Marine Wing document the final era of the old ways, including the last of Dubai's pearl divers. Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum House also displays a coin, stamp, and document collection. Examples date back to the early Trucial States and Dubai's first-issued postage stamps.