The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas (NAGB) was the first institution of its kind in the history of The Bahamas, announced in 1996, by then-Prime Minister, Hubert A. Ingraham, as part of a larger expanded system of museums that would record, preserve and historicize the narrative of the independent sovereign nation, established in 1973.
The NAGB is housed in the historic Villa Doyle (see below) situated on West and West Hill Streets, in Historic Charles Towne and on the border of Delancy Town, and is within easy walking distance of Downtown Nassau’s port and main business quarter. It physically bridges the two districts that are at the core of the nation: bustling Downtown—the hub of colonial power and continued wealth through commerce and tourism—and the ‘Over-the-Hill’ community—also known as the ‘nation’s navel’—where the Majority Rule leaders were born and raised. Sadly, once a thriving middle class community, the latter is now considerably diminished.
The museum boasts four gallery spaces—the PE, or permanent exhibition space, on the ground floor, which houses rotating shows drawn on the National Collection; The PS Room, a project space for monthly interventions, also on the ground floor; and two temporary exhibition spaces on the second floor (T1 and T2).
The NAGB is partially funded by a governmental subvention but engages a public-private network to operate and is also supported by the community that it serves, in the form of ticket sales, memberships, donations and otherwise.
The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas (NAGB) is a world-class museum with a passion for knowledge and a drive to push cultural boundaries. We exist to educate, uplift and inspire all Bahamian people, everywhere.
The NAGB fosters meaningful connections with the wider community by collecting, preserving and exhibiting historic and contemporary Bahamian art and by facilitating an active system of programming. As the leading cultural institution for The Bahamas, we will be widely appreciated for being a change maker and thought leader in the community. We will actively feed and provoke a healthy cultural ecosystem and engender a paradigm shift by building capacity and developing robust partnerships both regionally and internationally. By providing more opportunities for access, our public will become more culturally sensitive, gaining a sense of pride through being active participants in writing their own story. The development of a vibrant and diversified economic environment will empower multiple generations of Bahamians to forge new possibilities for our nation’s future.
The museum is housed in the Villa Doyle, a mansion built in the 1860s as the home to first Chief Justice in The Bahamas. After the addition of a new wing in the 1920s, it became one of Nassau’s prized stately homes. Positioned on the rise overlooking the top of West Street, Villa Doyle is typical of great houses of earlier centuries with surrounding verandahs that offer a commanding view of both the city and the sea.
Left to wrack and ruin in the modern age, many argued for its demolition to obliterate the reminder of our colonial past. Under a campaign lead by historian and founding Chairman, Dr. Gail Saunders, the building was saved as a site where history could be recognized, unpacked and interpreted. The building was subsequently lovingly restored in the 1990s to become the NAGB.
Villa Doyle’s restoration took almost seven years to complete involving a dedicated team of professionals and consultants under the supervision of architect, Anthony Jervis; Civil Engineer, Mr. George Cox; and the National Art Gallery’s Committee chaired by Dr. Gail Saunders.
Board of Directors
An Act of Parliament founded The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas (NAGB) in 2003 as a non-profit, quasi-governmental, private corporation. The independent corporate body is governed by a Board of Directors. Seven of the twelve Board positions are ex-officio and are filled by whomever is currently filling the post, or by their appointee.
The current Board, appointed in 2017, consists of:
Chairman - Mr Lawrence Bascom
Deputy Chairperson - Mrs Cherise Cox-Nottage
Secretary - Mrs Dawn Davies
Mr Bennet Atkinson
Mr Antonius Roberts
Director of Archives - Ms Patrice Williams
Director of Tourism - Mrs Joy Jibrilu
Director of Culture - Mrs Rowena Poitier-Sutherland
President, University of The Bahamas - Dr Rodney Smith
Bahamas Historical Society - Dr Gail Saunders
Representative of Antiquities, Monuments and Museums Corp. (TBA)
Director of NAGB - Mrs Amanda Coulson