St. Eustatius Historical Foundation Museum

The St. Eustatius Historical Foundation was founded in 1974 to promote the exploration and dissemination of the exceptional history and culture of this unique Caribbean island - the Historic Gem! The founding members of the Historical Foundation and its subsequent boards have provided a vision that has created a world-class Museum, archaeological fieldwork programmes with the St. Eustatius Center for Archaeological Research (SECAR), the Monuments Foundation and the framework for an Island Monuments Ordinance, impetus for the Historic Core Restoration Project, and the concept of a Living History Museum. This has been made possible through membership and museum entrance fees, sales of local crafts, private donations and grants.

The St. Eustatius Historical Foundation Museum is located in the center of Oranjestad in the 18th century house of Simon Doncker, who was a wealthy merchant. It is close to the Government Guest House on Emma Weg, and is open Monday-Friday from 9am-5pm. Displays include prehistoric archaeology on St. Eustatius, where artefacts from the famous Golden Rock Site are on show. There are two period rooms that exhibit what life might have been like for a merchant/planter family living on St. Eustatius in the 18th century. These two rooms, a dining room and bedroom, contain genuine period furniture, ceramics and other household items. There is also a recently renovated maps and prints room detailing the history of Statia through the documentary record. Finally the 'Granny Statia' room illustrates the quiet way of life on Statia from the late 19th to the mid-20th century.

Historical Foundation Gallery The Historical Foundation Gallery on Gallows Bay in the Lower Town (adjacent to the St. Eustatius National Parks Visitor Center) is open 9am-12 Monday to Saturday. Here one can purchase locally made gifts, including jewellery, paintings and prints. The staff can also provide information about the history of Statia and attractions to visit. All proceeds from gift sales go towards the Historical Foundation.

The SEHF Newsletter Join the Historical Foundation and recieve a free copy of the quarterly newsletter! The newsletter details recent activites and events organised by the Historical Foundation and at the Museum. Other articles include a note 'from the President's Desk', and short stories relating to the history of the island and interviews with members of the community.

Multi-functional Building Project The St. Eustatius Historical Foundation aims to construct a new building on the grounds of the museum. In the 1980s St. Eustatius was decribed by archaeologists as having the densiest concentration of artefacts in the Americas, because it was a major trade port in the Caribbean. Therefore, we have thousands of artefacts that need to be housed in a proper climate-controlled environment, this new building would provide accessible storage for these artefacts. In addition to this, the building would be used as an archive for historical documents. Space would also be provided for teaching, Historical Foundation Board meetings, research, lectures and social events.

Oranjestad Walking Tours Historic walking tours of our main town Oranjestad are offered at the St. Eustatius Historical Foundation Museum. Tours can be arranged in advance and usually start at 9am and last for around 2 hours. From the museum visitors are taken past a site where Marcus Garvey (Jamaican Civil Rights activist) spoke, past the Catholic Church and the stone path that leads from Lower to Upper Town, and into Fort Oranje, via the Government Guesthouse, which was the barracks for soldiers at the Fort. The next stop is the Dutch Reformed Church, which was consecrated in 1755 and then on to the Honen Dalim Synagogue- one of the oldest in the Americas!

The Statia Cookbook Former SEHF Board member Mary Brown organised a project to document traditional Statian recipes and to conduct research into their origins. Many traditional recipes are passed down through families orally, if they are not recorded some may be forgotten or altered. The 'Statia Cookbook' records a unique and important part of Statia's multi-cultural history. Readers will learn about Statia's history while using the traditional recipes. The cookbook as now on sale on Statia.

Walking Tour Guide Books and Historical Information Signs The St. Eustatius Historical Foundation was awarded a grant from Prins Bernhard Culture Funds Netherlands Antilles and Aruba, to make historical information signs and a walking tour booklet. Sixteen colourful fibreglass signs were placed at the main historical sites in Oranjestad in 2008. The signs provide information from documentary sources and archaeological investigations at various sites of interest. The walking tour guides are sold with walking tours.

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