With the purpose of presenting both to the Aruban public and to the international visitor, the rich archaeological heritage of Aruba, the Archaeological Museum of Aruba (AMA) was established in 1981. Through the years, the AMA expanded its goals into becoming a leading research institution with important education tasks.
In the late 1980’s AMA identified its need for an adequate housing for its collection and activities. After studying various options, a project proposal was drawn up, including the acquisition and restoration of historical buildings in downtown Oranjestad.
These historical buildings were formerly the property of the Ecury family. The “Ecury Complex”, is a cluster of single and two-story historic buildings, mainly Dutch colonial architecture from the late 19th and 20th century on a plot of approximately 1.700 m2.
In 1997 the Aruban Government bought the complex for the National Archaeological Museum project. In 2004 a financial agreement was signed with the European Development Fund and in 2006 restauration and construction work began on the monumental buildings and the new to build exhibition space. In December 2007 the key to the complex was delivered and the museum’s employees moved to the new location. The final design for the exhibit was completed in November 2007 and the permanent exhibit, financed by the Aruban Government and the Union of Cultural Organizations (UNOCA), opened in July 2009.
At the new location the National Archaeological Museum Aruba disposes of approximately 500 m2 for its permanent exhibit. This exhibit conveys through archaeological objects and modern exhibition techniques information on the origin and culture of the first inhabitants of the island. The new permanent exhibit gives the visitor an insight into the cultures that inhabited the island in Pre-Historical and Early Historical times. The museum also hosts an attractive public program including lectures, educational projects, temporary exhibits and workshops.
Opening hours are Tuesday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. As part of the inauguration celebration, entrance will be free for the general public. The NAMA is located at Schelpstraat 42 in downtown Oranjestad.