The Bermuda National Gallery is the ideal introduction to the visual arts and culture in Bermuda. It is the home of the national art collection, showing both Bermuda and world art and is at the centre of the island’s thriving arts scene.
The museum has a diverse collection and exhibition programme of past and present works by local and international artists that tells Bermuda’s history through its fine and decorative arts as well as reflecting Bermuda’s varied multicultural heritage.
The museum opened in 1992 with a core collection works by European masters c.1500 – 1850 including Gainsborough, Reynolds and Murillo donated by Hereward Watlington.
In addition to the Watlington Collection, other permanent collections include the African Collection (African figures, masks and royal regalia), the Contemporary Collection of 20th century work, the Photography Collection (a selection of black and white photographs by Bermudian international photojournalist Richard Saunders) and the Print Collection (which includes Hale Woodruff linocuts depicting powerful images of African-American life).
Throughout the year the gallery hosts an exciting programme of temporary exhibitions. In even years it is the venue for the Bacardi Limited Biennial, a juried exhibition of contemporary art.
The gallery is open 10 am to 4 pm on weekdays and from 10 am until 2 pm on Saturdays. It is closed on Sundays and national holidays.
A $5 admission charge was introduced in January 2015. Free guided tours are offered every Thursday commencing at 10.30 am.
The Bermuda National Gallery boasts one of the most active events programmes on the island. There are free lunchtime lectures every Wednesday (12.30 to 1.30 pm) and evening lectures by visiting art historians, curators etc. Check the calendar of the official website for the latest listings and ticket information.
The gallery is situated on the second floor of the City Hall, on Church Street in the centre of Hamilton. If you are arriving by bus just exit the Central Terminal and turn right. Visitors arriving by ferry should leave Hamilton Ferry Terminal and walk up Queen Street until they reach Church Street. There are numerous parking spaces for mopeds in the immediate vicinity.
Reviews and Additional Information
The Bermuda National Gallery have introduced a $5 entry fee for non-members. Entry was previously free.
You’ll enjoy it here so long as you don’t go with expectations of it being something like the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It was an interesting enough place to spend an hour on a tour of Hamilton.
I visited this gallery in summer 2013. It’s free to enter so that put me in a good mood. It’s not a huge gallery, but I wasn’t expected it to be. After all it’s not the main gallery in New York but the national gallery of a small island. Nevertheless, I enjoyed my time there and it was a good place to spend an hour. There was a very interesting photography exhibition exploring poverty and other social issues around the world and, somewhat surprisingly, in Bermuda too. If you’re in Hamilton, I’d thoroughly recommend it. The gallery is situated in the large white building next to the bus terminal. I didn’t see any signs, so you wouldn’t know it was there otherwise.
The gallery is a welcomed respite from the heat in the city. The art is historical, interesting and when we saw the Biennial, some works were quite provocative. The sculpture park is nearby too.
The gallery is just next to the bus station. There’s some delightful water fountains and sculptures out front.