The National Archaeological Museum Aruba (NAMA) celebrates more than 5000 years of Amerindian culture. On the 26th of July, 2009 the Museum, which moved into the beautifully restored former dwellings of the Ecury family – one of the Island’s most significant historic landmarks, was inaugurated by Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet of the Netherlands and her husband Profesor Pieter van Vollenhoven. The inauguration was accompanied by an open-air show by artists from all over the Kingdom.
The Museum has a collection of over 10,000 Amerindian artifacts spanning the Pre-Ceramic, Ceramic, and Historic Cultural Periods, and comprises a variety of media such as pottery, shell, stone, bone, and glass. The collections include a large number of artifacts that express Amerindian and spiritual life as well as a large communication network that connected Aruba to Europe, Mexico and central South America. The archaeological staff research the collections, lead excavations, and perserve key heritage sites including the amazing cave paintings located in Arikok National Park.
The 580 m2 permanent exhibition provides an exciting, interactive and educational experience for both residents and tourists alike. The story of Aruba’s rich cultural heritage comes to life through a series of thematic experiences that explore Home Life, Artistic and Sacred Expression, Origins and Exchanges, and the Past in the Present. Visitors will be delighted by the reconstructed environments, multimedia, and hands-on activities while being amazed by Aruba’s many archaeological treasures. Temporary exhibits are organized regularly, the first one themed ‘Rancho’, a homage to the Museum’s neighbourhood.
A dedicated team of educators organize tours and special programs designed to help school children understand the past and connect to their Amerindian roots. Additionally, the education department facilitates workshops, special and public relation events, lectures, books, and outreach. Staff are actively involved in training teachers and tour operators to effectively use the Museum exhibition as a tool for learning and enjoyment.
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.