Antique chair donated to Plantation Museum

Ishmael Berkel proudly displaying the mid-eighteenth century chair at the Plantation Museum.


ST. EUSTATIUS–The museum of Joe and Esther Berkel’s Family Plantation has a new exhibit. It is a mid-eighteenth century chair that belonged to the late Christine Thompson. Opened in 1990, the Berkel Museum houses an authentic collection of furniture and memorabilia going back as far as the late-nineteenth century on St. Eustatius.

  “We are over the eclipsing moon,” says Plantation custodian Ishmael Berkel. “Our museum building has been reproduced on the same design as my parents’ house in Upper Town. Their porch chairs welcome visitors into a time capsule that is fascinating and highly personal. Antique furniture, family photos and everyday plantation implements grace its interior.”

  Berkel points out that the museum is unique as it contains original plantation exhibits. “Yams, sweet potato, corn and charcoal were produced on the plantation and transported by donkey cart to the harbour. Schooners would then ship the Berkel freight to neighbouring islands as well as to Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao.”

  “A chair is still a chair, as the song goes, but we forget that behind all objects, there is an emotional if not spiritual presence. Christine Thompson was a wonderful person. Her legacy in the form of this simple gift will enable her voice to be heard long before ours are forgotten,” Berkel says.

Source: The Daily Herald