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
Portuguese Fort
  Xwéda Kingdom
  Dahomey
  Slave Trade
  Vodun
  Benin and the Diaspora
History of Ouidah
Visiting the Museum
Visiting Ouidah
Resources
Themes of the Museum

The Museum of Ouidah 's permanent collections depict the history and traditions of the region's inhabitants. Beginning with artifacts from the old Portuguese Fort (in which the Museum of Ouidah is housed), the collections proceed to describe through objects, imagery, and artifacts the history of the kingdom of Xwéda and kingdom of Dahomey, both of which were dependent on the trade in enslaved individuals with Europeans for riches and power. Photos and artifacts portray the impact that people from Benin made on the cultures of New World societies, as well as the effects of mass repatriation to Benin after the decline of the slave trade. Finally, local religious tradition is characterized through many current religious items and photos from local ceremonies.

The Lost Communities of the Kingdom of Xwéda

In addition to the museum's permanent collection, starting June 11, 2006 the museum will host The Lost Communities of the Xwéda Kingdom exhibit. This exhibit will expand on the museum's permanent holdings through illustration of the life in the Xwédan countryside.

Typical decorative pattern on Xwédan ceramic artifacts.Typical decorative pattern on Xwédan ceramic artifacts.