Where Does Your Story Begin? Explore Tracing Our Roots / Routes
Learn about Bermuda’s links with the West Indies and the Azores, the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, and the island’s defence through two World Wars. Marvel at local artist Graham Foster’s grand mural, shipwreck artifacts, and local watercraft.
And kids will love the Museum Playground and Playhouse, complete with interactives, a slide, and giant moray eel.
In Homestead, local artist Meredith Andrews captures the fortitude of family life in Bermuda through a collection of large format portraits of multi-generational families at their homesteads. Her vibrant family photographic portraits are an artistic response to NMB’s Bermuda Family Scrapbook project.View Exhibit
Tracing the 500-year human history of Bermuda, local artist Graham Foster’s grand mural has captured the imagination of all ages, telling the island’s story with vibrant detail, irreverent humour and poignant observations.
“I’ve drawn from Bermuda’s amazing multi-faceted history, but also thrown in folklore, characters, traits and traditions. While much has been written about Bermuda’s history, there are few visuals, so hopefully this mural will re-ignite an interest in our history, especially among young people.” – Graham Foster
Hall of History: Commissioner’s House, Ground & First FloorExplore Virtually
Bermuda’s history of survival and prosperity owes much to the Island’s Portuguese community. Bermuda was once a landmark for Portuguese seafarers and explorers on their homeward journeys from the New World, and later provided opportunities for Portuguese emigrant labourers, in particular skilled farmers. The arrival of the first immigrants from Madeira and the Azores in the mid-1800s established an enduring trans-Atlantic bond between Bermuda and Portugal’s Atlantic islands. Today, Bermuda’s Portuguese residents comprise about a quarter of the Island’s population. Azores and Bermuda explores Portuguese-Bermudian history and cultural connections.
Since the issue of the first Bermuda banknotes in 1914, they have been recognized as some of the world’s most artistic and unique—showcasing themes and icons of cultural and social significance to the Island. On display are examples of notes on loan from the Bermuda Monetary Authority, along with the story of their design and production, and Bermuda’s transition from sterling to dollar currency.
Centuries of sea-borne history link Bermuda to the West Indies. While geographical isolation sets Bermuda apart, its people share with their Caribbean counterparts the bonds of maritime exploits, interwoven families and a mutual legacy of trade, piracy, slavery, hurricanes and shipwrecks. This exhibit explores the maritime, economic and cultural links between Bermuda and the Caribbean.
Bermuda & the West Indies: Commissioner’s House, First Floor
For over a century, amateur sailors have been racing to Bermuda from North America for fun. The Bermuda Race exhibit shows how the race helped to shape ocean-worthy boats and popularised blue-water sailing.
An extensive exhibition of coins spanning four centuries from the collections of the Bank of Bermuda Foundation, E. Rodovan Bell and the Bermuda Government, including Bermuda hogge money and American, Spanish and English coins.
The Defence Heritage exhibit chronicles the history of Bermuda’s 90-odd fortifications over three centuries, from settlement in 1612 to the demise of coastal defence in 1957. It also celebrates the men and women of Bermuda who served locally and abroad, including 115 who gave their lives in the two World Wars.
From Victorian wintering health seekers to the post-war heyday of the 1950s, from summer beach crowds of the 1970s and ‘80s on to the new event and cultural tourism focus guiding the industry today, this exhibit traces the rise, decline and ongoing reinvention of Bermuda’s tourism industry.
Destination Bermuda: A History of Tourism: Commissioner’s House, First Floor
“Boats, next to fortifications are the most important, beneficial and useful instruments that the Island can possibly have,” Bermuda Governor, Nathaniel Butler, 1620.
The Boat Loft is home to a collection of locally built small watercraft, including fitted racing dinghies and small work, fishing and recreational sailing boats.
The open-ocean dwelling white-tailed Tropicbird, locally known as the Bermuda Longtail, arrives in Bermuda in late February and early March to breed, marking the beginning of spring. It is much loved locally and beautifully captured in this photographic exhibit by Dr. Reg Grundy.
Dr. Grundy is one of the key figures in the history of international television production and distribution. He is remembered for being the pioneer of local television production on a global scale having produced many documentaries, game shows, and TV shows and series, including the international hit Neighbours.
As an Australian-Bermudian, Dr. Grundy cherished his island home and was enchanted by the Bermuda Longtail, taking tens of thousands of photographs of that “harbinger of Spring.” He spent long hours photographing Longtails on the cliffs of Astwood Park, from his boat in Castle Harbour and at St. David’s Battery. His enthusiasm for wildlife photography took him to every continent, searching for the ‘right shot’, accompanied by his wife, Joy Chambers-Grundy, the well-known author.
Longtail: A Bermuda Resident: Commissioner’s House, First Floor
Adventure and fantasy reign supreme at this playground and playhouse inspired by local cultural and natural heritage.
The Museum Playground is designed by award-winning Danish design company, Monstrum, and includes a discovery sand pit, a 21ft lighthouse with slide, seaweed-like climbing elements, and a 70ft green moray eel.
Learn local history through play in the Museum Playhouse — a whimsical yet educational interactive exhibit designed by local artists Russell DeMoura and James Cooper..
The Museum Playground & Playhouse: The Shifting House Office & The Keep Pond
Both generously sponsored by ACE-Bermuda Foundation.
Children must be supervised by an adult at all times.
Not all visitors to Bermuda came of their own accord. Bermuda was once a penal colony for thousands of British convicts, and the islands of the Great Sound were used to house Boer and First World War POWs. Prisoners in Paradise explores Bermuda’s role as a repository for colonial prisoners, and the story of those held captive and the handiworks they crafted while in Bermuda.
Imagine a day without phones, TVs, computers, streetlights or appliances. Impossible? Electricity has become the lifeblood of our modern world, powering these technologies and many more. This exhibit commemorates more than a century of electricity in Bermuda, and explores the challenges of electric generation and supply in one the world’s most remote maritime communities.
Bermuda’s discovery, early settlement and history from 1505 to 1684 is told through the lens of a collection of 16th and 17th century shipwreck artifacts recovered from local waters. Bermuda’s earliest wrecks are featured, with more than 1,500 artifacts of international and local significance on display. The collection includes large cannon, rare New World indigenous weapons, intact olive jars, silver coins, colonial pottery, medical, navigation and shipbuilding tools, and exotic trade goods from the New World and Asia.
The exhibit also explores life aboard ship, the people who discovered Bermuda’s earliest shipwrecks, underwater archaeology and the importance of protecting our underwater cultural heritage for future generations.
Shipwreck Island: Sunken Clues to Bermuda’s Past: Queen’s Exhibition Hall
Learn about the New World Slave Trade—from Africa to the Americas via the infamous Middle Passage, the hardships of captives in the Americas and the struggle for abolition. First-person narratives, images, objects and shipwreck artifacts detail the evolution of trans-Atlantic slavery and its links to the Island.
Explore 200 years of slavery in Bermuda, from the early years of settlement after 1612, through Emancipation in 1834. The exhibit showcases the artisan and maritime occupations of Bermudian slaves and free men, as well as their skill, faith, resistance and solidarity.
The Slave Trade and Bermuda: Commissioner’s House, First Floor
This small exhibit in the US Navy Room tells the remarkable story of the capture of the German U-505 submarine off the west coast of Africa, and its concealment in Bermuda while Allied strategists and codebreakers took advantage of the captured Enigma machine and codebook.
In Traces and Pastimes, Ms. Hassell explores ancestry, cultural identity, memory, and time through large scale digital collages and biodegradable flagging tape sculpture. Her work focuses on her own discovery of her family history which she can trace back to West Africa.View Exhibit