Cowry shells, native to the Maldive Islands and used as currency across West Africa, were often used to create decorative patterns on ceramic vessels.The Ouidah Museum of HistoryCowry shells, native to the Maldive Islands and used as currency across West Africa, were often used to create decorative patterns on ceramic vessels.Cowry shells, native to the Maldive Islands and used as currency across West Africa, were often used to create decorative patterns on ceramic vessels.Cowry shells, native to the Maldive Islands and used as currency across West Africa, were often used to create decorative patterns on ceramic vessels.
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A "sacred" python:  the kingdom of Dahomey adopted worship of the python from the Xwéda kingdom, and python veneration is continued in Ouidah to this day.
About the Museum
Themes
History of Ouidah
Visiting the Museum
Visiting Ouidah
Resources

Other Museums of Benin

The Ouidah Museum of History is part of a network of national museums of Benin , located around the country from Porto Novo to Natitingou. These museums include:

The Honmè Museum and Royal Palace of Porto-Novo. This museum encompasses the three-century old palace of a branch of the Royal Family of Allada. Through touring the various courts and rooms of the palace the visitor will have a sense of the lives and the power of the ruling kings. Open daily from 9h to 12h and 15h30 to 18h. Telephone 229-20-21-35-66.

The Alexandre Sènou ADANDE Ethnographic Museum. Housed in a colonial mansion built in 1922, the museum's rich collection of artifacts, including masks, statuettes, ritual objects, and armaments, illustrate the wide variety of cultures and traditions existing in Benin . Open daily from 9h to 12h and 15h30 to 18h. Telephone 229-20-21-25-54.

The Museum of Akaba-Idénan (the Fortified Door of Kétou). Though little is known about the structure's history or its reigning king, the city of Kétou was in earlier times protected by the fortifications and religious power of Akaba-Idénan. Visitors are invited to tour Akaba-Idénan and learn about its mysterious significance. Open daily from 9h to 12h30 and 15h to 18h.

The Museum of Abomey. Installed in the palace of kings Guézo and Glèlè of Dahomey after the structure was restored by the Cooperation Francais, the museum collections include bas-reliefs illustrating historic and political events of the kingdom, objects associated with Dahomean royalty, objects of art (including sculpture and textiles), objects related to the local cults, clothing, and military arms. Open daily from 8h to 12h30 and 15h to 18h30. 229-22-50-03-14.

The Natitingou Regional Museum. Housed in the restored ancient colonial-style prefecture, the museum is dedicated to the civilizations of the Atacora. Most of the collections are representative of the Otammari socio-cultural group, and cover topics such as history, colonization, local ceremony, clothing and musical instruments. Open Monday to Friday, 8h to 12h30 and 15h to 18h30; open Saturday and Sunday from 9h to 12h30 and 15h to 18h.

Bibliographic Sources

ADANDE, Joseph, CODO, Bellarmia C., SOUMONNI, Elisée. Le Bénin et La Route de L'Esclavage. Comité National pour le Bénin du Projet « La Route de l'Esclavage ». ONEPI (Presse), Bénin.

ASSOGBA, Romain-Philippe Ekanyé. Découverte de la Côte des Esclaves. Editions Saint Michel / Union Général pour le Développement de Ouidah, 1994.

CLOCHARD, B. Ouidah : Petite Anthologie Historique. L'Imprimerie Industrielle Nouvelle Presse, Cotonou, Bénin, 1993.

LAW, Robin. Ouidah : The Social History of a West African Slaving ‘Port', 1727-1892. James Currey, Oxford , England , 2004.

LAW, Robin. The Slave Coast of West Africa , 1550-1750: The Impact of the Atlantic Slave Trade on an African Society , Clarendon Press of Oxford University, England, 1991.

QUENUM, Venance S. Ouidah : Cite Historique des « Hueda ». 1982.

TCHAOU HODONOU, Colette. Visage du Bénin : Le Guide du Tourisme et Des Affaires. Les Editions du Flamboyant, Bénin, 1995.

Shield adorning the entrance to the old Portuguese Fort, now the Ouidah Museum of History.
Typical decorative pattern on Xwédan ceramic artifacts.Typical decorative pattern on Xwédan ceramic artifacts.