About / History
Located in the City Hall Arts Centre in the heart of Hamilton, the Bermuda National Gallery is the home of Bermuda’s national art collection and is at the centre of the Island’s vibrant arts scene.
Since 1992 we’ve been dedicated to bringing the world of art to Bermuda and Bermuda’s art to the world. As Bermuda’s leading art museum, the BNG has built a diverse collection and exhibition programme of past and present works by local and international artists. Don’t miss the Ondaatje Wing where works from our Bermuda Collection tell Bermuda’s history through its fine and decorative arts and reflect the Island’s rich multicultural heritage.
Each year, the BNG shows three temporary exhibitions as well as smaller installations and special events. Every two years, The Bacardi Limited Biennial showcases contemporary Bermuda art in an international juried exhibition.
Our governing body, The Bermuda Fine Art Trust was created by an Act of Parliament in 1982. In 1988 the Corporation of Hamilton leased the East Exhibition Room space at City Hall to the BNG for $25 per year. The lease was for 25 years, starting in 1988, with a renewable option. In 2009 the lease was extended by 21 years and the annual rent is $1,000.
The Gallery opened its doors in 1992 with a core collection of historic European paintings, now known as The Watlington Collection, bequeathed to Bermuda by founding trustee and artist Hereward T. Watlington (1902-1989). The Watlington Collection was bequeathed in 1989 with the proviso that the paintings be housed in a climate-controlled facility to the standard of the Metropolitan Museum of New York. Since a proper climate control facility did not exist in Bermuda at that time, this was the catalyst for the development of the BNG. The Collection is owned by the Government of Bermuda and is on permanent loan to the Gallery.