Ranked 21 among Places to Visit in Mauritius
Ideal Time: 2-3 hours
With a long history of hundreds of years of colonial rule, it is no wonder that Mauritius is home to a plethora of museums littering the entire island. Starting from museums showcasing the lives and times of people from the Dutch, French and British colonial rule to the history of production of sugar to even museums dedicated to the art and culture of Mauritius; there are plenty of museums located across various corners of the island that attract vast numbers of tourists, especially history aficionados and those interested in learning more about the country of Mauritius.
One such famous museum is the Blue Penny Museum, which is a stamp museum located in Port Louis, the capital of Mauritius. Ever since its inauguration in 2011, the Blue Penny Museum has continued to take visitors on enthralling journeys of the rich culture and history of the island. The museum is named after the famous 1847 2-pence Blue Penny stamp, which had been engraved for Mauritian post offices by Joseph Osmond back in the 1800s. Mauritius was one of the first few countries in the world to start using postage stamps for communication via written mail, and these first-edition stamps are now valued at a high price all over the world. The pride of the museum lies in its one-penny and two-penny post office stamps from 1847 which are kept proudly on display, but aside from the stamps, the museum also houses an enviable collection of old marine maps used by sailors back in the past, paintings from colonial times, as well as old engravings, inscriptions and sculptures. Through various exhibits and galleries depicting the history and culture of Mauritius, the museum thoroughly educates visitors on the diverse history of Mauritius, starting from the colonial occupation the slave trade and the slaves struggle for freedom, and through the entire chapter of the Mauritian history of independence. The whole thing is fascinating, and if you like knowing more in detail about the country you’re visiting, the Blue Penny Museum is one of the best museums in Mauritius that will give you detailed information about practically everything you need to know about the history of the island.
The prize collections of the museum are the two ‘Post Office’ stamps dating back to 1847, and these two stamps are renowned all over the world for being two of the most valued collections of ancient philately. The one-penny orange-red stamp and the two-pence indigo blue stamp are the two stamps this museum is famous for, and these stamps have essentially been declared a national treasure, so you can imagine how much it piques the curiosity of tourists on a visit to the island. Being ancient, the stamps are delicate; thus they are displayed only during certain times in the day when they are illuminated in all their entirety; for the rest of the day, visitors can see reprints of the original stamps.
Aside from stamps and old artefacts and curious, the Blue Penny museum houses a few exhibition rooms which focus on different aspects of philately and postal history in the country, as well as the development of the capital of Mauritius, with some maritime history thrown in the mix too. The most famous of these exhibition rooms is the room devoted entirely to the love story of Paul et Virginie (a very renowned mythical Mauritian novel), which draws in crowds of visitors interested in knowing more about the legend and the tragic story of the couple of Paul and Virginie, set against the backdrop of Mauritius itself.
After you’re done touring the various exhibits and galleries on display, you can head over to the souvenir shop to buy some postcards, curios or replicas of some of the exhibits in the museum, to take back home for your family and friends.
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