Blue Penny Museum - Mauritius
Blue Penny Museum Overview
Located in Port Louis, the Capital of Mauritius, The Blue Penny Museum is the most famous museum in Mauritius. The museum displays a precious heritage collection about Mauritius and shows the rich history of the island. It offers you a real expedition through the past of Mauritius, its colonial period and its growth over the years.
Blue Penny Museum Collection and Highlights:
The Blue Penny Museum prides itself on the two issues of the famous ‘Post Office’ stamp dating back to 1847; considered as the two most precious items of worldwide philately. The Blue Penny Museum collection also includes a series of treasures: old marine maps, paintings, sculptures, stamps, engravings and old documents that bring forward the richness of Mauritian history and culture.
The most striking items in the museum are the unused one penny orange-red stamps, and one of the four unused two pence indigo-blue stamps in existence. The two gems of the philately world are now on show for your personal viewing at the Blue Penny Museum.
You can also get a unique range of top quality souvenirs from Mauritius at the museum’s boutique section, The Souvenir Shop, which includes specially designed postcards, posters, decorative objects and stationery.
Blue Penny Museum Exhibits:
- The Age of Discovery - This room provides an insight into the world of navigation of the Indian Ocean.
- The Island Builders - This second room of the museum offers a broad outline of the colonial history of the island.
- Port Louis; a leading city - This third room houses a series of old images and maps that will take you on a voyage through time, back to the Port Louis of the 18th and 19th centuries.
- The Postal Adventure - The visit of the museum continues into a room that offers a broad outline of the history of postal services in Mauritius.
- Engraved memory - This room will provide you with more information about how the engraving of stamps began in Mauritius.
- Paul & Virginie - This famous novel by the French author, Jacques-Henri Bernardin de Saint-Pierre, is forever associated with Mauritius and the mythical story of these two lovers is a masterpiece of world literature.
Visit of the Blue Penny Museum
General Visits of the Blue Penny Museum
The visit of the museum will provide visitors, with a general overview of the historical past and the art history of Mauritius.
It also enables visitors, especially children, to associate images with the story of Mauritius from its early days. Taking children to a museum serves the noble purpose of igniting a passion for history and heritage in them. So be sure not to miss this opportunity to widen you and your kids’ horizons ongoing this unique journey into the past of Mauritius.
Themed Visits of the Museum
The museum also offers themed visits for students. The visit can therefore focus on one specific exhibition room.
For example, one can opt to spend more time in the section devoted to Dutch, French or British colonisation in the “The Island Builders” exhibition room.
On the other hand, the exhibition room devoted to the story of “Paul et Virginie” can be visited by those who have passion for the famous Paul et Virginie novel.
Likewise, the different exhibition rooms of the museum enable the exploration of various other themes and can be customised accordingly.
Some of the Blue Penny Museum theme visit include:
- Knowledge of boats
- Reading navigation maps and symbols
- Determining longitude and latitude
- Discovering ancient navigational instruments
- Imagining a sailing expedition in the 18th century, life on board, boarding another ship
Mauritius under Dutch rule
- The commercial context
- The first visits
- The fauna and flora
- The settlement
- The population
- Agriculture and livestock farming
- Difficulties encountered
- The abandonment of the territory
Mauritius under French rule
- The geopolitical and strategic issues
- The French East and West India Companies
- The taking over of the island
- The early days of settlement
- The population
- Slave trade and slavery
- The agricultural and commercial development
- Privateers and commerce raiding at sea
The battle of Grand Port
- The historical context
- The opposing forces
- The strategy
- The unfolding of the battle day after day
- The outcome
Mauritius under British rule
- The expansion of the Empire in the Indian Ocean
- The taking over of the Mascarene Islands
- The Battle of Isle de France
- The terms and implications of the capitulation of the French
- The abolition of slavery
- Indentured labour
- Commercial, manufacturing and sugar sector development
Port Louis, port and capital
- The topography of the place
- The development of the port and town since 1736
- The capital between 1801 and 1853 as it appears in 25 ancient lithographs
- Comparative photographs showing the changes that have occurred to date
- The history of the town and of the port through a detailed analysis of the images
- The beginnings of postal services during the Dutch period
- The organisation of means of communication in Isle de France
- The importance of postal services and mail delivery routes in the Indian Ocean
- Ship mail in the days of sail and steam navigation
- Inland mail in the days of stagecoaches and trains
- Air mail before, during and after World War II
The first postage stamps issued in Mauritius
- The journey of the engraver, Joseph Osmond Barnard, from Portsmouth to Port Louis in 1838
- The mystery of the world-famous Post Office Mauritius stamps
- All of the first series of postage stamps issued in Mauritius and their story
- The stamp-making process
- How to collect postage stamps
- Philately and the values it carries
“Paul et Virginie”, a tale of exotic adventure
- The origins of the novel
- The motivations of the author, Bernardin de Saint-Pierre
- The influences of Romanticism
- The story of “Paul et Virginie” in the context of the time it was written
- The dimension of a publishing success for over 200 years
- The exotic in the prints, paintings and sculptures inspired by the novel
Guided Visits of the Blue Penny Museum
The visit is about 45 minutes/1 hour long and will enable you to enjoy:
- A general overview of the history and culture of Mauritius in a modern and attractive setting.
- A unique presentation of Port Louis and of its heritage through an abundance of historical testimonies on Mauritius and its capital.
- The discovery of collections of international significance such as the Blue Penny, the first edition of the novel, “Paul et Virginie” and the statue sculpted by Prosper d’Epinay.
The museum can organise visits outside normal opening hours. This exclusive service, which also includes a cocktail reception, is ideal for visitors looking for a special treat. On these occasions, the museum will adapt its services to the specific requirements of the visitors.
Our guides can conduct in-depth visits for clients with a particular interest in one of the themes covered by the museum. A themed visit provides the opportunity and time required to concentrate more on a specific part of the history of our country.
The Blue Penny Museum’s boutique Shop
The shelves of the Blue Penny Museum’s boutique are lined with great souvenirs to collect or offer as gifts. The personnel of the boutique of this museum in Port Louis will be pleased to assist the numerous foreign visitors who pass through the Blue Penny Museum everyday in choosing among the various items available.
The museum’s boutique offers visitors an entire line of products inspired by the Post Office stamps, the finest jewels of the Mauritian heritage.
Philately enthusiasts will find there a range of items inspired by the Blue Penny and Red Vermilion – T-shirts, bookmarks, caps, soap, pens as well as key rings.
The boutique also sells various items relating to the exhibitions of the museum and detailing the history and heritage of Mauritius.
Ship models, postcards, table mats, posters, reproductions of engravings and prints as well as handicrafts and a number of books on Mauritius are on display on elegant beech wood shelves, all of them amazing treasures to be acquired and shared.
The Blue Penny Museum’s products are inspired by the heritage collection of the MCB.
It is one of the country’s most prestigious collections and comprises key works of Mauritian art and history including the works presented at the museum. The boutique’s items were developed with careful attention to quality and excellence and are a unique and original range of Mauritian souvenirs.
Blue Penny Museum Opening Hours:
- The museum is open every day between 10a.m. and 5p.m. except Sundays and public holidays.
- The museum closes exceptionally at 2 p.m. on 24th and 31st December.
- The exhibition rooms close at 4:30p.m.
- The museum admissions desk and boutique close at 4:30p.m.