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MAURITIUS EXPLORE
» 31 Jul 2014
THE MARTELLO TOWER MUSEUM

CAN YOU TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT THE DEVELOPMENT OF YOUR MUSEUM?

In 1992 when renovation began this British fort was in ruins. The stonework was intact, but all of the timberwork and metalwork was in ruins or had been removed, and
strangler fig trees invaded the roof.  We sandblasted the interior stonework to remove leached lime cement, resealed the joints between the stones on the roof with epoxy and replaced the leaky internal drainpipes with plastic tubing. 

We rebuilt the gun carriage and platform and put the original gun back on the roof. 

We researched and set up the interior spaces, as they would have been when soldiers used them.

Original objects found in the tower on display include the musket butt stand, copper ventilation grilles, the traversing platform ironwork. cannon shot, military buttons and more. 

Three guides prepared to offer guided tours in English, French or Creole. The tour starts on the ground floor of the tower, which was a store. The first floor was the living quarters of the soldiers, and the second floor is open.

Friends of the Environment, a non-governmental organisation dedicated to defending, protecting and promoting our national heritage set about renovating this national monument with the support and funding from the government, diplomatic missions and Mauritian businesses.

WHEN DID YOU OPEN YOUR DOORS? 

In the year 2000, we finally finished restoring and refurbishing the tower to look as it had when it was built! We offer guided tours of the museum 6 days a week. 

YOU HAVE BEEN OPEN FOR 13 YEARS NOW. WHAT IS PUBLIC RESPONSE LIKE?

We’ve always had a marvellous reaction from our local and foreign visitors. The visitors particularly appreciate the guides. Our visit adds an extra dimension to the Mauritian experience. Visitors get a feel of what it must have been like to be a soldier
in the fort. 

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR ESTABLISHMENT?

We offer a personalised guided tour of an historical monument restored authentically and historically accurately. 

WHAT PRODUCTS/ ACTIVITIES ARE THE FAVOURITES?

All aspects of the tour are fascinating. The gun on the roof with the views over the Black River Bay is memorable. We also have a small boutique with souvenirs and books for sale to the visitors.

WHAT IS THE MISSION OF YOUR COMPANY?

The Martello Tower Museum’s mission is to preserve this national monument and make it accessible to the public. We are committed to operating the museum to professional standards, making it accessible to  all, being culturally and historically
authentic and being a minimum drain on public funds.

WHAT MAKES YOUR MUSEUM UNIQUE?

Our prices are exceptionally low in terms of value for money.  Our museum is unique in Mauritius in that its management is a partnership between the government and an NGO. Friends of the Environment operates the museum under the direction of the government body the National Heritage Fund.

ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD LIKE TO ADD?

The museum is next to a beautiful little public beach with a view of Le Morne Mountain. Dolphin watching excursions embarkations are close by so can easily be combined with a visit to the tower. 

A SHORT HISTORY OF THE TOWER:

The British built about 220 Martello Towers around the world. They built five in Mauritius, shortly after taking possession of the island from the French. The Black River Martello Towers were completed in 1833. They have never seen action. 

WHAT CAN CUSTOMERS EXPECT IN THE NEAR FUTURE?

We have plans for more interactive exhibits, and regional tours of the area’s many historical and natural sites. We are also expanding the range of products available in our boutique. Being an NGO, we are non-profit making but do have the objective to
cover running costs so charge a small entrance fee. However, our commitment to making the museum available to all as entrance is free on the last Saturday of every month.

Martello Tower Museum
La Preneuse, Black River - Tel: 483 6842
Email: foemau@intnet.mu

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