Amuseum volunteers pause for a photo after a recent clean-up session.
MARIGOT–After delighting more than 10,000 visitors in its first two years, Amuseum Naturalis is coming back in a new location in 2018.
St. Martin’s first natural history museum will be expanding to highlight island heritage and culture as well as nature. At the new location, formerly The Old House museum, there will also be community projects including gardens, a composting centre and a native plants nursery.
“We are thrilled to create a space to tell all the stories of St. Martin!” announced Les Fruits de Mer President Jenn Yerkes. “We’re working with the local community to find and tell stories. We especially want to shine a light on heritage that’s been ignored or suppressed and show how the island’s history and culture is fascinating and meaningful.”
Amuseum Naturalis is developed and operated by the Les Fruits de Mer association. The group believes this project is important for many reasons. Local school systems are already under stress after Hurricane Irma.
Amuseum Naturalis is being prepared for a 2018 opening in the Old House.
School materials on the island come from Europe or North America and don’t teach enough about local nature or heritage. The Amuseum has been and will be free for all. It is a place where young people can discover science and history and develop valuable skills.
“We’re really happy to see the amount of support the Amuseum is getting,” commented Amuseum curator Mark Yokoyama. “Volunteers have been coming to help clear the property and prepare the site. Everyone who comes falls in love with this place. People from around the world have been supporting with donations. It’s a big project, but together we can make it happen for the island!”
Les Fruits de Mer is currently working with volunteers to prepare the new location every weekend and more volunteers are always welcome. The next volunteer day is Saturday, March 17, and more information is available at lesfruitsdemer.com and on the Les Fruits de Mer Facebook page.
There is also a crowdfunding campaign raising funds until March 30, 2018. St. Martiners interested in sharing stories or ideas about topics to feature in the museum should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.