Port Louis Museums and Art Galleries

(Port Louis, Mauritius)

Port Louis has a couple of very interesting museums that shed valuable light on the history and culture of this island. Both the Photography and the Blue Penny museums are well worth a visit. In fact, if you want to know anything about this island's heritage, the Blue Penny is the place to go first.

Mauritius is also the home of several important artists, such as Xavier Le Juge, Malcolm de Chazal and Andree Poilly. You can find prints of their work, along with other contemporary local artists at the dozen or so art galleries around Port Louis and the other tourist-focused towns on the island.

Blue Penny Museum

Address: Caudan Waterfront, Port Louis, Mauritius, MU
Tel: +230 210 8176
One of the main attractions in Port Louis is this impressive little museum dedicated to the art and history of Mauritius. Among the highlights are two of the rarest postage stamps in existence - the Penny Orange and the Two-Pence Blue. Issued in 1847, these stamps incorrectly showed the words 'Post Office', instead of 'Post Paid'. Although these stamps were quickly recalled, the British Governor had actually mailed out some on party invitations, and nowadays these particular stamps are worth in excess of US$1 million each. There are lots of other interesting exhibits to check out as well, and its location on the lively Caudan Waterfront makes it a good component to a day exploring the harbour area.
Open hours: Monday to Saturday - 10:00 to 17:00
Admission: charge, discounts available for children

Photography Museum

Address: Old Council Street, Port Louis, Mauritius, MU
Tel: +230 211 1705
This museum may be small, but it is extremely engaging. Full of old photographs of Mauritius and Port Louis, this is the ideal place to get a glimpse of what this island was like before the advent of tourism. Among the more unique exhibits is a group of old 'daguerreotypes' made in Mauritius in 1840. These early prints were the forerunners of modern photographs and printed using a 'silvered' plate and the vapour of mercury. Visitors to the Photography Museum will find it standing across from the Municipal Theatre, fronting a characterful cobblestone street.
Open hours: Monday to Friday - 10:00 to 15:30
Admission: charge


Address: Moka, Mauritius, MU
Amongst the best sites for Mauritius culture is the small town of Moka, located 12 km / 7 miles south of Port Louis. This town is both the academic hub of the island and the home of many beautiful old manor houses. The lovely scenery in Moka is enough of a lure, but you can also visit the Indian Folk Museum and the Eureka House Museum, the latter of which is a 19th-century Creole mansion where the rich colonial heritage of Mauritius is showcased at its very best. The Mahatma Gandhi Institute is here as well and devoted to preserving the Indian heritage of Mauritius.
Open hours: daily - 24 hours
Admission: free

Natural History Museum and Mauritius Institute

Address: La Chaussee Street, Port Louis, Mauritius, MU
Tel: +230 212 0639
This leading Port Louis attraction showcases the natural history of Mauritius. Among the bits and bobs dedicated to indigenous flora and fauna are a handful of interesting things. The star attraction of the Natural History Museum and Mauritius Institute is a replica of the legendary dodo bird. This flightless bird was only ever found on Mauritius, despite its global fame. Discovered in 1505, the dodo was extinct by the 17th century, due to colonisation. Many believe that the demise of the dodo was due to hungry sailors, while others believe that it was the rats brought with their ships, and perhaps their pets - dogs and pigs.
Open hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday - 09:00 to 16:00, Saturday - 09:00 to 12:00
Admission: charge

Mauritius Postal Museum

Address: Place du Quai, Port Louis, Mauritius, MU
Tel: +230 213 4812
Located next to the Port Louis waterfront and the Central Post Office, the Mauritius Postal Museum is one for holidaying philatelists, boasting an extensive collection of stamps - both from Mauritius and throughout the world, together with lots of related postal paraphernalia. A variety of artefacts clearly document the postal history of Mauritius, while the gift shop sells postal-order copies of the island's famous one-penny and two-penny stamps.
Open hours: Monday to Friday - 09:30 to 16:30, Saturday - 10:00 to 16:00
Admission: charge, discounts available for children

SRS Memorial Centre for Culture

Address: Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Street, Port Louis, Mauritius, MU
Tel: +230 242 0053
The SRS Memorial Centre for Culture is a popular museum-type attraction based within the house where Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam once lived between 1935 and 1968. Ramgoolam was an important political figure on the island, being the Prime Minister from 1968 to 1982, and then the Governor General between 1983 and 1985. The exhibits very much concentrate on his life and achievements, comprising an assortment of photographs, documents and personal memorabilia.
Open hours: Monday to Friday - 09:00 to 16:00, Saturday - 09:00 to 12:00
Admission: free