The Bardo National Museum is housed in the old apartments of the Beys Palace in Tunis. This masterpiece of 19th-century Husseinite architecture was converted into the Museum of National Antiquities in 1885. In this high place, classified as a historical monument, stand alongside Moorish traditions and Italianising contributions, attested by the decorative repertoire of noble spaces in stucco, Qallaline ceramic panels and gilded and painted wood. Since its inauguration in 1888 under the name of Alaoui Museum, the National Bardo Museum has been a must-see place to learn about the history of Tunisia.
The renovation and extension works (Spring 2009 - Spring 2012) enhanced the level of the museum to the best international standards. Under the 9,000 m2 extension, the surface of the museum doubled and enabled it to be equipped with equipment that was lacking. This renovation brings a modernity that is integrated in the ancient architecture of the palace, highlighting a large, rich and varied museum collection.
The new visitor circuits correspond to chronological and thematic criteria, based on a modern presentation that enhances the collections display and is well adapted to the visitor. They include a tour of the rehabilitated palace. The lighting, whether natural or artificial, meets international standards and enhances the scenography and the display of collections. The new exhibition is a testimony to Tunisia’s rich heritage through the six new departments that are dedicated to prehistory, the Punic period, numid civilization, the underwater treasure of Mahdia, late antiquity and Islam. The historical part of the Museum, dedicated to the Roman period, includes its famous collection of mosaics, the most important in the world, as well as a new presentation of the sculptures in the emperors' room and in the Carthage room and an exhibition of sarcophagi in the old cisterns.
The large hall of the Museum, enhanced by the monumental mosaic of the triumph of Neptune, constitutes the reception and information center for all visitors and leads to the emblematic portrait of Virgil writing the « Aeneid » which is the starting point of the visit routes. The bookshop, shops, temporary exhibitions, media library and educational workshops open to children and adults stimulate curiosity and deepen knowledge.
The National Bardo Museum, in its new cofiguration, representative of all periods of the Tunisian heritage, highlights the prime role that the new Tunisia brings to the value of its precious heritage for the community.