The Mauritius Museum of Photography is the only museum of its kind in the Indian Ocean. Mr Bréville's collection is private, and the museum is located in an old colonial building in the capital, Port Louis. During a visit, the décor is very appealing. The little bell at the entrance rings and Madame Marie Noëlle Bréville emerges from the archives. This location offers a warm and personal welcome to every visitor.
The visit is quick. In the centre of the exhibition room is a shelf filled with all kinds of books on photography. Further on, in the subdued display cabinets, are the daguerreotypes, which are the first photographs to be taken, pioneered by Jacques Daguerre. This practice can be explained as copper plates that are covered with a thin layer of silver that have been photosensitised with a chemical solution. The image is then mirror-inverted before being stored in airtight cases under a glass cover.
In a hidden chest of drawers is one of the largest collections of postcards in the world, which Tristan Bréville gladly opens to interested visitors. There are all kinds of motifs showing the many facets of our country, not to mention his 40 private photo albums. For the Brévilles, photography holds no secrets. In the museum of photography, visitors can spend their time through the very special and significant pictorial beauties of the country and its history. The Brévilles are helped in their task by their two children, Marie Jule and Frédéric, who are the youngest museum directors in the world.
From an early age, Tristan Bréville has been fascinated by photography. Together with his wife Marie Noëlle, he researched all over the world and bought these little pieces of Mauritian history to save them from oblivion. Their collection includes more than one million negatives, more than 5000 glass negatives, 30 daguerreotypes, 9000 postcards and more than 1000 cameras. But the most important thing is to meet a family that has spared no effort to preserve the memory of their country.
Chronologically, the development of cameras and photography in Mauritius started in 1840. The huge cameras that were used 150 years ago are evolving into cameras that already resemble the analogue cameras of today. In addition, the historic cinema projectors and printing machines used for the first newspaper in the southern hemisphere were imported to Mauritius in 1773. The camera used in 1860 to photograph the arriving Indian workers to facilitate their capture, in case they ran away, is also on display. You will also find a series of contemporary photographs which are regularly renewed.
Opening days: Monday - Friday
Opening hours: 10am to 3pm
Duration of the visit: 30 minutes to 1 hour
Per adult: 8 Euro
Per child under 12: free