Mahebourg Museum
Mahebourg Museum
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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4.0
173 reviews
Excellent
48
Very good
96
Average
26
Poor
2
Terrible
1

Stephen S
London, UK37 contributions
May 2018 • Solo
I've visited this museum in my wife's home village/town more times than I can remember and there's always something new to see. The old home of the Robillards lies at the end of a straight avenue flanked by rather gloomy serried ranks of pines. The 'craft village', which includes the museum shop, was closed during my Sunday morning visit.

A fine double set of stairs takes you to the 'ground' floor (I presume there is, or was, a cellar below). The faded Java deer, a giant sea turtle, two dodo skeletons and a skeleton of that other, but less celebrated, extinct bird, the solitaire, reside in the first room. The museum contains many interesting and important finds from the waters around Mauritius. The collection, which eventually formed the basis for the Naval Museum, was started by H C M Austen, who in the 1920s was harbour engineer, railway manager and pioneering underwater archaeologist. Mauritius owes him a lot, but he's been utterly forgotten apart from his splendid book, Sea Fights and Corsairs of the Indian Ocean.

The museum contains some artefacts that Austen would have recognised: tickets and cap badges from the Mauritius Government Railways and a superb large-scale model of a double-deck railway carriage (known in Mauritius as a 'storey carriage'), while outside in the yard behind the museum building you can find in a caged enclosure one of the oldest surviving railway carriages in the Southern Hemisphere. Scandalously neglected for decades by successive governments, which have shown zero interest in protecting or preserving anything dating from the 157 years of British administration, the Governor's Saloon is on the verge of complete collapse. The underframe was built in Britain but the teak body was constructed c1871 by Mauritian craftsmen at Plaine Lauzun railway works (the works survive in industrial use, as do many old railway buildings). The only museum administrator who showed real interest in restoring the carriage was sadly murdered a few years ago.

Old maps, a fine painting of the famous St Malo-born pirate Robert Surcouf, a couple of sedan chairs, cannons, an antique bed, fascinating maps and old photographs, plus some thought-provoking displays on slavery, indentured labour* and the environment are all worth your attention, so allow at least an hour - but be prepared to spend longer here than you planned! (* If you want to know more about this subject, don't miss the Aapravasi Ghat Museum and the Mahatma Gandhi Institute).

If you want to see visit the museum you should either be quick or be patient, as the building is in a poor state of repair and will close for refurbishment in September 2018 for at least a year.
Written July 1, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Lilli
Finland105 contributions
Feb 2020 • Solo
Wonderful museum well worth a visit in Mahebourg. Interesting collections are located on two floors of the pretty colonial building, helpful staff are available on both floors.

Rooms are arranged in a clear manner- the first room has natural history related items (Dodo and Rodriques Solitaire bones) then it’s chronological order: Dutch-French-British periods in their own rooms.

Clear signage in both English and French goes through the main naval history, plenty of treasures recovered from the numerous shipwrecks. History of the (now defunct) railway system came to me as a surprise, check out the governer’s coach behind the building as well. Topics such as slavery and indentured labour are also covered and extensive collections contain beautiful old maps, palanquins, coins, model ships, old photos, china etc.

Gift shop was not open during my weekday visit either. Museum is free so do pop in for a brief visit or spend two hours going through it all.

On the walk back to town, next to the garden of the museum, there is a little bakery in the corner. Grab yourself a hot cheese-potato-sweet corn puff pastry for Rs20 - or the cream puffs and eclairs looked delicious as well.
Written February 4, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Aerosid
Ballarat, Australia232 contributions
May 2015 • Family
Entry is free and some of the display are just amazing. It has loads of information that only wants to be discovered.
The museum is not efficiently run, there are bone display of the dodo that are being kept in a simple glass cabinet, so I can only imagine that it will eventually turn into dust.
There were meant to be a few handicraft shops just outside, all were closed except one.
I heard a few stories that the place is haunted as it was used as an infirmary during the battle of Grand Port :)
Written June 27, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Reflectorgo
Cork, Ireland560 contributions
Nov 2018 • Couples
We visited on a national holiday and were delighted that this museum was open in the morning, although the gift shop was shut. It is a beautiful old colonial mansion, dating from the 1700s, and it is very historic. It is where the English and French leaders met while ill, and being nursed, became friends and worked out the future of Mauritius in a cooperative way instead of fighting. There are basically very 2 large rooms (which would have been originally subdivided) on each floor. Also a large landing which makes a display space. charming old fashioned and very interesting display of Mauritius's piratical, naval, historical past, many interesting oil paintings and some good stuff about the Mauritius railway which closed 70 years ago, there's also an original railway carriage outside. The grounds are beautiful and wooded and covered in trees. We had the place to ourselves and felt a bit as if we were visiting a colonial mansion. There is no entry fee which I think is good. Highly recommended. Next door to it is a bakery which sells nice bread and pastries to take away. Idon't know if there is a cafe in teh museum because the "village" in the grounds of the quaint little cottages with the shops etc. were all closed becuase of the public holiday.
Written November 21, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Loki P
Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa2 contributions
Jan 2015 • Family
Very informative and beautiful, the Museum itself is kept in excellent condition. Love all the trees :)
Written January 17, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Cerris1
Cleobury Mortimer, UK352 contributions
Oct 2014 • Couples
Small museum with lots of info and free to visit. Check out the old railway carriage parked up behind the museum by the toilets and take a look at the museum shop along with the other gift shops at the side of the main museum building
Written October 29, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

PrestonGuild
United Kingdom55,191 contributions
Apr 2013 • Family
The museum is an old colonial house built in 1771 and was the residence of a French sugar baron that became a hospital at the time of the Battle of Grand Port in 1810 when both the French and British commanders were convalescing in the same room.

It became a naval museum in 1950 before adopting its present guise as the National Museum of Mauritius. Its a bit of a hotpotch with relics from ships, naval memorabilia including the bell from the shipwreck of the St Geran. There is art, coins, natural history as well as the history of sugar plantations.

Admission is free, there are guide cards which explain the exhibits but what the museum really needs are the staff to provide regular tours of the museum. There were only a few people there when we visited and many were just wandering aimlessly. We were lucky as the person accompanying us during the visit was knowledgeable about the museum.
Written November 19, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Johannes
Midrand, South Africa157 contributions
Jul 2023 • Couples
Very detailed history of Mauritius all in one place. It seems relative small, but there is lots of information. All for free, but you can leave a donation.
Written July 24, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

psdeepa
Mumbai, India3 contributions
Jul 2023 • Family
A wonderful visit to the museum! Good collection and insights into the history of Mauritius. A visit here can be combined to/from the airport to optimise time.
Written July 13, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Nikhel Chung
Floreal26 contributions
Sep 2022 • Family
Nice museum. You learn a lot about Mauritius and its stories. Had a nice time there with family. The museum also have a nice garden
Written September 18, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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