Island residents and visitors are invited to discover the wild side of St. Martin at Amuseum Naturalis, a free pop-up natural history museum in Grand Case. The museum is open on Tuesday evenings from 6-10pm during the Mardis de Grand Case street fair.
“Amuseum Naturalis is a museum about life, which is always changing–just like the museum,” explained co-curator Mark Yokoyama. “Since we launched in January, we’ve doubled the number of exhibits and created four short nature documentaries that play in the museum’s theater. There are new wonders every week.”
The museum’s current special exhibit, Women, People of Color and the Making of Natural History in the Caribbean, has been expanded for March, Women’s History Month. The stories of five fascinating but historically overlooked figures have been added, including Catalina de Ayahibex, a 16th century Taino tribal leader who was an expert in native plants, and Charlotte Dugée, an 18th century free woman of color and skilled botanic artist from Saint Domingue who disappeared into the South American jungle during a scientific expedition.
“These pioneers in Caribbean science are not widely known–their contributions have often been hidden, or even had the credit for them stolen–but their stories are absolutely amazing,” said Jenn Yerkes, creator of the exhibit. “They reveal so much about both the history of science and the political and cultural climate of the different eras. Plus, many of these trailblazers risked perilous journeys, pirates, shipwreck, disease, venomous creatures and dangerous wildernesses to do what they loved–their lives were like real-life adventure movies!”
The public is invited to visit Amuseum Naturalis and explore the exhibits Tuesday evening from 6-10pm. Amuseum Naturalis is located at 96 Boulevard de Grand Case, and was created by the non-profit association Les Fruits de Mer and sponsored by Delta Petroleum.