Through the slave trade and eventual repatriation of many former slaves, there was a great exchange of culture between Benin , the Caribbean, and the Americas . On reaching the New World, slaves maintained many of the practices they held in Africa . Foods and methods of food preparation were continued from African traditions, religious practices were continued or merged with New World traditions, and artistic expression by the African community was greatly influenced by the traditions of their homeland. Cultural ties with modern-day Benin are strongest in Haiti , Cuba , and Brazil , where to this day visitors can see many of the same ceremonies and eat many of the same foods as are available in Bénin.
New World traditions were also introduced into the culture of Bénin through the repatriation of many of the descendants of slaves. The largest influence was in building style: in present-day Porto Novo and Ouidah it is possible to find many examples of Afro-Brazilian architecture. Some new world religious practices were imported as well – interestingly, the goddess of water, “Mamiwata”, was introduced from Brazil , and the worship of Mamiwata is active to this day.
Collections in the museum highlight similarities between aspects of culture in the New World and Benin . Through photographs, costumes, objects and models, the depth of the cultural exchange across the Atlantic is made clear.