For a real taste of Bahamian culture, head to the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas in Nassau. Housed in a classic 19th-century colonial-style building known as Villa Doyle in the center of town, the gallery displays paintings, sculptures, and other pieces by local artists from the 1850s to the present day.
The National Art Gallery collection comprises a wide range of works including ceramics, paintings, photography, sculpture, and textiles, with an emphasis on 20th century and contemporary artists. In additional to the permanent collection, the museum regularly hosts special exhibitions focusing on how art reflects different aspects of the island nation’s culture and history. For a more comprehensive experience of the gallery, consider booking a guided tour, which must be organized in advance.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The National Art Gallery is a lovely stop for those wanting to learn more about Bahamian art, culture, and history.
- Discounts are available for local residents, seniors, and students. Children under the age of 12 visit for free.
- The gallery is accessible to wheelchair users.
- There is an on-site store selling works by local artists.
How to Get There
The National Art Gallery of the Bahamas is located on West Hill Street in Nassau, close to St. Francis Xavier Cathedral and the National Heritage Museum. It is walking distance from downtown Nassau and the cruise terminal. Visitor parking is available on-site.
When to Get There
The museum is open 10am to 5pm Tuesday to Saturday and 12pm to 5pm Sunday; it is usually busiest in the mornings.
Visit a Library Housed in a Jail
Just a couple of blocks from the National Gallery, past Government House, there’s an unusual octagonal building with a domed roof painted flamingo pink. This is Nassau Public Library, formerly the town’s jail—only today the jail cells house the library’s books instead of the town’s prisoners. Head up to the top-floor veranda for panoramic views of the city and the ocean.