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December 7, 2011 / Nautical Mom

St Maarten Museum & Phillipsburg Library

I’d been excited to see the Dutch heritage museum here on the island. It had an alluring website, and an even more attractive admission price (free).

The museum has a very nondescript entrance among the tourist boutiques in stalls along phillipsburg main beach. If not specifically searching for it, it would be easy to dismiss as yet another trinket shop with shell jewelry and beach coverups.

Once upstairs, we were treated to a delightful exhibit of artifacts from early island life. The director explained how she had created each display herself. The entire place was appealingly laid out with merely a case or two on each subject (ie salt mining) artistically designed to include informative excerpts surrounding artifacts.

Jason’s favorite was the model and ruins of the Dutch frigate “Jason” captured by the British, renamed Prosthlete and sunk in the great bay of Phillipsberg.

Gigi enjoyed learning about the formation of the island through movement of the tectonic plates millions of years ago.

The library in phillipsburg is large and well stocked one story (ok, hundreds of stories but only one floor) building. It has walls only around the perimeter, but not in the interior, with a large garden in the center, the inventory is remarkable with complete sections for children and adults in each of 4 languages: French, Dutch, Spanish and English.

We spoke to the library director about volunteer opportunities, but as in the states, it is hard to find ways to contribute. It is important to me to give something besides our dollars to the islands we visit. We continue to try.

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