Aga Khan Museum: History, Design, and Mission

The Aga Khan Museum is a showcase of Iranian Muslim art and Moro Islamic culture. It is located in North York District of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Aga Khan Trust for Culture, a branch of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) conceptualized and developed the museum.



The Aga Khan Museum was conceptualized in the year 1996 when the Aga Khan brought the property located at 77 Wynford Drive, Toronto, Ontario Canada. Another property was acquired thereafter just adjacent to the proposed site museum. In 2002, AKDN announced the initiation of the Aga Khan Museum, Park and Ismaili Center on the site. The Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper and his Highness the Aga Khan attended the ceremony for the foundation-laying for the start of the construction on May 28, 2010. It was finally established on September 18, 2014.


The Pritzker Architecture Prize winner, Mr. Fumihiko Maki, in collaboration with the Landscape Architect Vladimir Djurovic and the Indian Architect Charles Correa, designed the museum. Maki got his inspiration from natural light and combining it with historical elements. He envisioned the museum to incorporate natural light into the building whether it is on a clear or cloudy sky. He wanted the light to reflect various patterns on the Brazilian granite floor creating a beautiful depiction of Moroccan patterns that enhance the interiors and the open courtyard. The museum building was designed to have ample space with 81 meters long and 54 meters wide measurements.

 The museum boasts two galleries for art exhibits, art conservation area, a 350-seater theater, two classrooms, and a storage room. The museum takes pride in its contemporary design that also showcases ancient Islamic civilizations.


The work of the Aga Khan Development Network aims to construct institutions and create programs that respond consistently to the economic, social, and cultural challenges of the times. The AKDN works closely with private and public institutions including international organizations, governments, foundations, companies, schools, and universities.

The museum aims to acquire, preserve, display and interpret artifacts related to the cultural, artistic, religious and intellectual traditions of Muslim communities of the past and present practices.


It showcases Islamic art and heritage collections of the Institute of Ismaili Studies. It holds personal collections of His Highness the Aga Khan, the 49th hereditary Imam leader of the Shia Ismaili Muslims. The museum also showcases artifacts from the Prince and Princess Sadruddin Aga Khan which depicts the artistic, scientific and intellectual contributions of Muslim civilizations. The collection includes 1000 pieces of objects comprising superb examples of Qu’ran manuscripts in the Muslim world. Among them is an 8th century North African sheet – the most primitive style of parchment Kufic script. The blue Qu’ran is considered as one of the rarest Qu’ran manuscripts ever created that was believed to originate in the ninth century during the rule of the Fatimid caliphs originating from Qayrawan.

 It will become a sanctuary of historical resources of the Ismaili community. It will involve research programs related to each one of the features of its official mission.


The museum is conveniently located at 77 Wynford Drive, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

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