Bermuda's first purpose-built art museum, it was the subject of island-wide patriotic fervor when it opened early in 2008, and the crowds pouring in haven't abated since. It's housed within the much-altered, much expanded premises of what functioned in 1900 as an arrowroot processing plant. As part of a skillful recycling of the once-decrepit building, it now boasts a state-of-the-art security system, sophisticated lighting, air-conditioning, and preservation facilities, floors crafted from wide planks of exotic Brazilian hardwood, and a constantly shifting exposition of artworks crafted or painted by Bermudians, focusing on Bermuda, or merely inspired by Bermuda. Only about 5% of the total number of artworks within this museum's collection can be exhibited at any time: A visit to this collection will certainly impress upon you the artistic power of Bermuda as muse to a huge array of radically different artists. But it will also alert you to the civic passion that reigns within this island. The museum was created thanks to the efforts of local philanthropist Tom Butterfield, and during our pre-opening visit was staffed with an amazing number of hardworking volunteers from the local community. You'll see a lot of paintings by artists you might never have heard of before, as well as works by Winslow Homer and Georgia O'Keeffe, both of whom responded to Bermuda with something approaching artistic zeal. On your way into the museum, note the stately 18th-century mansion, Camden House, that's immediately adjacent: Closed to the public, it's the official residence of the premier of Bermuda, who rented the premises of what's now the museum to its curators for a fee of $1 a year. Prince Charles of Britain, incidentally, is this organization's most visible patron.
- © Frommer's 2013
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- Highly Recommended 2010