Stories that are not told can be lost forever. Such could have been the case for the story of the indigenous Aruban people, had it not been for a project executed by the National Archaeological Museum Aruba, Xibitz and Lord Cultural Resources. The team’s work included interpretation, content coordination, design, fabrication and installation –an intentionally inclusive process that made use of the talents, opinions and knowledge of museum stakeholders, local officials, arts professionals, educators and the general public.
Dedicated to researching, interpreting and raising awareness of the material history of Aruba from prehistoric times until the late 19th century, the museum is located in a restored national monument, the Ecury Complex. Here, a visitor can step back in time experiencing environmental recreations and interactive exhibits that include media and touchable components. Information is presented in four major thematic areas; Aruba Today, Home Life, Artistic and Sacred Expressions, and Contact, Migration, and Exchange.
The lives of past peoples can be better understood with a reproduced Amerindian hut called a Maloca, a model of a shell midden, and a model of a cave which captures the mystical nature of rock art found in Aruba’s wilderness through a sound and light experience. Visitors learn of the indigenous people of Aruba, a tribe of the Arawak Indians called the Caquetio who originated from the Amazon Basin about 3,500 years ago. A stone planer artifact and others demonstrate the culture’s continuous ingenuity in developing tools for every day life.
Designed to educate and excite both resident and tourist visitors about Aruba’s rich cultural heritage through a variety of interactive and inspirational experiences, the museum also seeks to motivate those who engage with it to respect and preserve this unique legacy.