Pompey Museum of Slavery and Emancipation, Bahamas

Pompey Museum of Slavery & Emancipation is a museum on the Nassau waterfront in Bahamas. It occupies Vendue House, an elegant building in pink, believed to be built in 1760. It is two stories tall, with the façade being rusticated. A pediment is supported by a pair of Corinthian columns that flanks the front door.

Vendue House was the slave auction house in Nassau during the 18th century. The word “vendue” is French for “sold”. This was were slaves from Africa and other parts of the Americas were brought to shore and sold to plantation owners and other wealthy free men. Records and documents as well as replicas of the 18th and 19th century letters related to the slave trade are displayed. This includes news articles regarding life of the slaves, the movement to abolish slavery, the Emancipation Act of 1 August, 1834, and the eventual outlawing of slavery throughout the British Empire by 1840.

In addition to slaves, Vendue House served as an emporium where a sundry mix of merchandile were sold. This can be as diverse as farm produce to pottery to human beings. By the early 20th century, it was readapted at the department of telegraph and telephone. The building became the museum of slavery in 1992. It was named in honor of Pompey, a slave from the Rolle Plantation on Exuma Island who revolted against the inhuman conditions. The museum is located next to the Straw Market which sells tourist products focusing on items made of straw.

Visiting the Pompey Museum of Slavery and Emancipation

Vendue House is located on Bay Street, in front of George Street. At time of writing, the museum is closed indefinitely due to a massive fire (see update below). I will update this page when the museum reopens.

Update: 9 December, 2011
Vendue House, which housed the Pompey Museum of Slavery & Emancipation, was totally destroyed by a massive fire that broke out today. The Straw Market was similarly destroyed. This is a devastating blow to the museum which has just been awarded a major grant to update its displays. The museum intends to rebuilt itself from this disaster.

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