National Museum of Bermuda

Top choice museum in Royal Naval Dockyard and Sandys Parish
Anna Kaminski

If you only see one museum in Bermuda, make it this. Taking up the entirety of the Dockyard's 19th-century fortifications, it's divided into two main parts. The vaulted Queen's Exhibition Hall is an atmospheric gallery that showcases the treasures found on 18 key shipwrecks. On the upper grounds, the world's first cast-iron building – the Commissioner's House – features displays on all aspects of Bermuda's history, from slavery to Bermudian participation in WWII. Don't miss the mural.

The shipwrecks – including the Sea Venture, which carried the original colonists – date between the 16th and 18th centuries. Pottery, armaments, slave chains and goods from the Orient and South America have been salvaged from them, and a video allows you to watch underwater archaeologists in action.

The floor-to-ceiling mural inside the Commissioner's House – a dark Where's Waldo? of Bermuda's entire history with mesmerizing detail – was a three-year labor of love by Bermudian artist Graham Foster. Other absorbing exhibits tell the story of the first Portuguese settlers in Bermuda, how Bermudian culture was shaped by West Indian immigrants and how Bermudians colonized the Caicos Islands. Antique maps and historic Hogge money – Bermuda's first currency – is on display.

The views from the ramparts are terrific.