Learn the history of one of the most storied set of Caribbean islands at the Heritage Museum of the Bahamas. See relics of the plantation era, when many slaves were brought to the islands; artifacts from the days when pirates patrolled nearby waters, and memorabilia from days of the Duke of Windsor and Wallis Simpson.
Located in Mountbatten House—itself an interesting building, once the summer home of Lord Louis Mountbatten, Admiral of the Fleet for Great Britain and the last Viceroy of India—the Heritage Museum of the Bahamas is part of the Graycliff Heritage Village. A large part of the museum’s collection belongs to the British antique dealer Hamilton White.
Exhibits range from a slice of meteorite (about 4.5 billion years old) found on the islands to artifacts dating to the era of Christopher Columbus in the late 15th century, to a slave bench with iron ankle shackles that brings plantation life into sharp focus. Visitors can choose an audio guide or opt for a guided tour for additional insights into the collection.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Entry to the museum is by paid ticket.
- Discounted tickets are available for children.
- Access to the museum is via a flight of stairs, so it may be unsuitable for people with limited mobility.
- Look out for the faces carved into the suits of Spanish armor designed to frighten the opposition armies.
How to Get There
The museum is found on West Hill Street, opposite the Graycliff Hotel, close to Government House and the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas. It is walking distance from most points in Downtown Nassau, including the cruise terminal.
When to Get There
The museum is open Monday to Saturday from 10am–5pm. It is closed on Sundays and holidays. Most people spend around 45 minutes in the museum.
Climb the Queen’s Staircase
Consisting of 66 steep steps carved out of solid limestone by the island’s slaves, the Queen’s Staircase links Downtown Nassau to Fort Fincastle. The steps were built around 1794 and later renamed in honor of Queen Victoria. Once you reach the top, you can take a look around Fort Fincastle, which was designed as a defensive outpost to protect Nassau from invasion by foreign fleets.