As the date draws near for the Caribbean Studies Association conference in Curaçao, we are charting our tour of local museums for both academic and personal pleasure. Here are just a few:
The Curaçao Museum: Carefully restored in 1946-1948 and located in the Western part of Otrobanda, the Curaçao Museum is housed in a colonial style building and conveys an air of authenticity at the very first glance. In this spacious museum the geological history of Curaçao is displayed, as well as pre-Colombian artifacts from the Caiquetio tribes; maps and charts of America and the Caribbean region; professions the Afro-Curaçaoan practiced after the abolition of slavery, their beliefs and mode of living, a traditional plantation kitchen; antique mahogany furniture (18th and 19th century) and paintings by local and international artists. Unique in the Caribbean region is the carillon with 47 bells. The Snipgallery houses the cockpit of the ‘Snip’, the first KLM plane to cross the Atlantic Ocean in 1934. The large shaded grounds are a pleasant place to stroll. Occasionally the museum grounds are the venue for musical concerts.
Opening hours: Monday through Friday: 9:00am-12:00 noon and 2:00pm-5:00pm; Sunday: 10:00am-4:00pm/ Address: Van Leeuwenhoekstraat, (Otrobanda) Willemstad / Telephone number: (599 9) 462 38 73
The Maritime Museum: Located in a mansion built in 1729 on the Waaigat inlet, just above the Floating Market, renovations were done in maritime style complete with a gangplank, portholes and ship railings, all in wood and brass. Video presentations and multimedia displays are used throughout the museum to bring Curaçao’s maritime history to life. Exhibits include antique miniatures, 17th Century ship models, and maps –some dating from the 1500’s. Other highlights include representations of Spanish rule, the conquest of Curaçao by the Dutch and formation of the Dutch West India Company, the evolution of Willemstad as a naval base and maritime trading center, its explosive 20th century development — and a projection of what is in store for the city in the new millennium. The Museum has its own ferry for tours of the harbor, and for bringing passengers from arriving cruise ships to the Museum. You can relax at the museum’s harbor side cafe, and browse in its gift and souvenir shop.
The Kura Hulanda Museum: Museum Kurá Hulanda is an anthropological museum that focuses on the predominant cultures of Curaçao. It offers a world-class chronicle of the Origin of Man, the African slave trade, West African Empires, Pre-Colombian gold, Mesopotamian relics and Antillean art.
Address: Klipstraat 9, (Otrobanda) Willemstad/ Telephone number: (599 9) 434 7765
The Jewish Cultural Historical Museum: This museum is part of the Mikvé Israel-Emanuel Synagogue, the oldest in continuous operation in the in the Western Hemisphere. The museum displays an impressive collection of religious artifacts from the congregation’s history, such as Torah scrolls and Hanukkah lamps, as well as antique personal and household items. They are one of Curaçao’s most popular tourism attractions.
Open from Monday to Friday 9:00-11:45am and 2:30-4:45pm/ Address: Hanchi di Snoa 29, Punda / Telephone number: (599 9) 461 16 33
Information on the museums from http://www.vakantie-Curaçao.nl/musea/, http://www.curalink.com/arts/artsculture_museums.htm and http://www.curacao.com/The-Curacao-Difference/Our-People-and-Culture/Museums/Curacao-Museum