Have you ever wondered how different our lives would be if we didn’t have any photographs of our childhood or the places we travel? Photographs are the only way to relive the days gone by and cherish the thousands of memories and anecdotes related to a single picture. The camera is great gift of technology to mankind and it has become a crucial part of life. The Photography Museum of Mauritius gives you the privilege of getting acquainted to a different angle of the camera along with a vast exhibition of some of the first photographs that were taken by the predecessors of the camera.
It began as a private museum born out of the love and passion of Mr Tristan Breville, who is a collector and his wife Marie Noelle back in 1966. Initially, it was located in the premises of their house in Rose Hill, and then it shifted to Quatre Bornes. It was in 1993 when the Port Louis city council donated an old French building which was restored by the Association of French-speaking Mayors (AIMF), and that’s where the museum is located till the present day. It was officially inaugurated in 1993 in the presence of the French Minister of Culture, Jacques Toubon and the director of the European House of Photography Jean Luc Monterosso. The museum is now under the supervision of Marie Julie, daughter of Mr Breville, to keep the family tradition alive.
Inside The Museum
You have the liberty to choose to get a tour of the museum by one of the family members of the museum founders’ or one of their associates with immaculate knowledge of the premises. The beautifully decorated and well-maintained array of worldly possessions and collections inside the stone building can flabbergast the professional photographers along with the amateurs. Even though the tour lasts for only an hour, but there have been instances when visitors get lost in this mesmerising setting and spend the whole day admiring the picturesque displays.
The extensive collections in the museum comprise of portrays, exhibits and equipment dating back to 1800s and the early 1900s:
You will get a chance to discover photography going back to its earliest roots from the fundamental principle of copying images.
The daguerreotype process which was related to developing clear imagery prints on silver and copper background is also exhibited in the museum.
One of the earliest pictures of Mauritius taken from the first daguerreotyped camera which was brought by a German origin Mauritian, and it finds its home in the museum.
Equipment like press machines and the Gaumont stereoscopic film used in movie halls, dating back to 1773 and 1913 are displayed in the museum as well.
In the photo gallery, you can find pictures of sugar plantations and the village way of life and the gradual development of cities like Rose Hill and Port Louis.
Here are some other fascinating facts about the museum:
Almost 176 researchers from all over the world visited the museum back in 1995 and supported the role of photography in those days.
Through the constant restoration and recovery work carried out by the museum, a display of more than 400 newspaper cuts dating from 1839 to 1945 can be seen.
The museum is an underrated hub for aspiring journalists, eager students and researchers as well.
Opening days: Monday - Friday Operating time: 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM Tour duration: 30 minutes to 1 hour
For adults: INR 645 For children under 12 years: No Entry Fee