Tropical breezes, romantic sunsets, aquamarine water and powdery sand beaches are just some of the delightful images you may conjure up when you think of the Caribbean. Easily overlooked with all the natural beauty here are the many museums that you may visit while in this beautiful paradise. Enrich your Caribbean cruise experience as you journey in comfort on an amenity-filled ship by visiting a variety of engaging museums.
Immerse yourself in history and art that tell the story of each island’s unique heritage for a special cultural perspective. Take a break from the beach and learn about a variety of fascinating topics, from the birthplace of Alexander Hamilton to Bob Marley’s gold records.
Here is a sampling of just some of the diverse museums the Caribbean has to offer:
Learn about Anguilla’s incredible past from its most prominent historian, Colville Petty, O.B.E., at the Heritage Museum, which houses items from his personal collection. See incredible artifacts such as tools from the Arawak Indians, who were living here when Christopher Columbus arrived in 1492, slave shackles and 19th-century household items.
Highlighting the history of the world’s only continuously working Georgian Dockyard, the Dockyard Museum, built in 1855, it once housed Officers’ Quarters. Today, it offers a unique insight of the island with interesting archaeological, environmental and historical exhibits.
Take the whole family to the incredible Pirates of Nassau Museum, sure to delight kids and adults alike for recreations of Nassau’s “Golden Age of Piracy” from 1690 to 1720. Enter the thrilling world of plundering pirates at sea, with sleeping hammocks, cannons and genuine artifacts including flintlock pistols and cutlasses. Highlighting the visit is the chance to be a “stowaway” on a replica ship, called the Revenge. Your kids will remember this for a lifetime.
Step into American history at the George Washington House, where the first President of the United States stayed for about two months in 1751. Restored to its former glory, there is a four poster bed surrounded by mosquito netting. Get a sense of how residents once lived on the island at this unique museum.
History buffs will flock to The Napoleon Museum located next to the University of Havana in a beautiful Florentine-style palace. Featured here is one of the most important collections from the 18th and 19th centuries preserved in the Western hemisphere. View objects that belonged to the legendary French emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte, during various stages of his life. On display are incredible items such as the actual guns he used at the Battle of Borodino in 1812 and his telescope, plus personal item. Close to 8,000 additional pieces of armor, paintings, sculptures and furniture related to Napoleon can also be seen here.
In Kingston, Reggae-lovers will want to head to the Bob Marley Museum, whose famous music is synonymous with Jamaica. Get an up-close glimpse of the legendary musician’s life and work at his former residence with a fascinating and vast collection of his items.
Created in 1981, the Museum of Rum (Musée du Rhum), operated by the St. James Rum Distillery, pays homage to the West Indies’ favorite spirit. Sensational exhibits include historic old buildings and a collection of old distilling tools of the trade. Guided tours include an art gallery, plus a rum-tasting – a highlight for many! Family-friendly, children – and adults too – will love the train that takes them around the sugar plantation. Kids will remember this for a lifetime.
Art-lovers will find nirvana at San Juan’s Museum of Art of Puerto Rico – one of the largest museums in the Caribbean. Housed in the huge building is an exquisite collection of 17th-century artwork. More than four centuries of Puerto Rican art may be viewed and a new east wing boasts a magnificent five-story-tall stained glass window by local artist Eric Tabales.
Nevis (St. Kitts)
The Museum of Nevis resides in a lovely Georgian-style building and offers an insight into this tiny island including a glimpse into American history. With the popularity of the Broadway smash hit, Hamilton, interest is growing for Alexander Hamilton, one of the country’s Founding Fathers, and this two-story Georgian building was his birthplace in 1757. Additionally, artifacts and memorabilia of the life and times of British Naval Admiral, Lord Horatio Nelson, who visited the island in the late 18th century and married local Fanny Nisbet. The museum houses the largest collection of his relics in the Western Hemisphere called “Nevis in the time of Nelson.”
Enhance your Caribbean cruise by visiting these fabulous history-rich museums and the many others in this tropical paradise.