Start the Growing Season Right with Free Plants from Amuseum Naturalis

The free plant stand at Amuseum Naturalis will have extra plants this month.

The beginning of the fall rainy season is a traditional time for planting on St. Martin. To take advantage of the growing season, stop by the Les Fruits de Mer association’s free plant stand at Amuseum Naturalis! Thanks to support from Delta Petroleum, they will have special plants available and some free books about plants.

“We have a free plant stand at Amuseum Naturalis that we stock all year, but right now is the best time to get those plants into the ground,” explained Les Fruits de Mer President Jenn Yerkes. “We give away about 1,000 plants every year. We focus on native tree seedlings, and heritage plants like herbs and fruit tree seedlings. We want to help people create a space for birds and other animals in their backyard or neighborhood. We also want to support local plant traditions.”

Some of the local tree seedlings include calabash, lignum vitae, soursop, coco plum and sugar apple. Heritage plants include paracetamol, stinging thyme, lemongrass and Malabar spinach. The association will be filling the free plant stand with extra stock for the rest of the month. On Saturday, September 25th, they will give away free copies of Plantilles: Plants of St. Martin from 9am to noon while supplies last.

“We are really happy to support the free plant program,” said Natalia Ayala, Delta Petroleum Island Manager. “At Delta St. Martin, gardening and plant traditions are really important to our employees, families and customers. We love that we can help bring life to the island.”

Delta Petroleum is the sponsor of the free plant stand at Amuseum Naturalis.

The free plant stand is located directly in front of Amuseum Naturalis, at The Old House in French Quarter. The plant stand and the museum are always free to visit. Guests are welcome to make a self-guided visit any time during daylight hours, any day of the week. For more information, visit amuseumnaturalis.com.

The Last Frontier

The Last Frontier is a new exhibit of etchings and memories of French Quarter by Sir Roland Richardson.

A new outdoor exhibit is now open at Amuseum Naturalis in French Quarter. The exhibit is titled The Last Frontier: Sir Roland Richardson’s French Quarter. It features etchings of people and places in French Quarter, and Richardson’s memories of the time he lived there. Visitors can come and enjoy the exhibit any time from sunrise to sunset, any day of the week.

“We are so excited to share this with St. Martin,” said Amuseum co-founder Mark Yokoyama, who developed the exhibit with Richardson. “It is an exhibit about art, and about French Quarter, and about St. Martin’s past. Sir Roland’s etchings aren’t as well-known as his paintings, but they are historical treasures. This exhibit presents them much larger than life size, and the detail is amazing. Combined with his memories, this is an exhibit that transports you to a time and place that no longer exists.”

The Last Frontier features eight Richardson etchings. Subjects include an etching of the house where Richardson lived in French Quarter, and The Old House, the historic building where Amuseum Naturalis is located. The text, taken from interviews with Richardson, reveals a French Quarter where traditions still survived on a rapidly changing island. He also shares insights into his artistic process.

Sir Roland Richardson remembers his time in French Quarter fondly, “I felt that was part of my real privilege, that opportunity to sleep with my doors open. I didn’t have any worries and I felt totally at home, but I felt really privileged to have out of every door or window where I looked, the natural landscape. I did a huge, huge body of work during those years.”

Amuseum Naturalis is located at The Old House in French Quarter. It is always free to visit, and all displays are now outdoors. Guests are welcome to make a self-guided visit any time during daylight hours, any day of the week. The Last Frontier is on permanent display just in front of the house. For more information, visit amuseumnaturalis.com.

This exhibit and other projects were made possible by support from the Collectivité de Saint-Martin and the Agence nationale de la cohésion des territoires.

Free Coloring Books at the Amuseum!

Free copies of the coloring book Endemic Birds of the West Indies are available at Amuseum Naturalis.

There are almost 200 birds that live only in the Caribbean. Some live only in a certain part of the region, and some live only on a single island. A new coloring book, Endemic Birds of the West Indies, features 50 of these special birds. Copies are available for free at Amuseum Naturalis in French Quarter.

“Kids are often amazed to learn that there are birds and other animals that live only on their island,” commented the writer, Mark Yokoyama. “These birds, and this book, can help them discover how special their home is. It is also a chance to take a bird tour of the Caribbean and see some of the incredible birds from other islands.”

“Endemic” means found only in a specific place. In the Caribbean that can mean just one island, like the Sisserou parrot in Dominica. Or it can be birds special to a region, like our Sugar Bird and the hummingbirds that live on St. Martin. The book features five birds that are found on St. Martin.

St. Martin’s Antillean Crested Hummingbird is one of the birds featured in the book.

The coloring book features beautiful illustrations by artist Christine Elder, and text by Mark Yokoyama. It was published by BirdsCaribbean. There are 50 coloring pages and fun activities. The book also explains why there are so many unique birds here, and how we can help them.

Anyone who wants a free copy can pick one up in the exhibit hall at Amuseum Naturalis on the hill above Galion beach in French Quarter. Teachers or youth leaders interested in multiple copies can email info@lesfruitdemer.com. The book can also be downloaded for free at: lesfruitsdemer.com/resources/books/

Amuseum Naturalis Announces July 7th Reopening

Amuseum Naturalis is located at The Old House in French Quarter.

After closing for lockdown, St. Martin’s free nature and heritage museum Amuseum Naturalis will be reopening in “park mode” for the public to enjoy safely! Starting Tuesday, July 7th, guests are invited to make self-guided visits during daylight hours to the outdoor areas, including the open-air Amuseum exhibit hall, and outside exhibit areas, viewpoints and gardens including the agriculture heritage displays, bush tea garden, and the St. Martin poetry exhibits.

Amuseum Naturalis is located at the historic Old House in French Quarter. It is created and run by the all-volunteer Les Fruits de Mer association, and presents more than 40 fascinating exhibits showcasing the unique wildlife, culture and history of St. Martin.

“With outdoor exhibits and beautiful views, we hope that the Amuseum can be a fun and safe place to enjoy nature and heritage during a tough time,” explained Les Fruits de Mer President Jenn Yerkes. “Our top concern is the safety of the community, so we ask that visitors follow safety instructions so we can stay open.”

St. Martin poetry exhibits showcase local authors.

To keep the community safe, properly worn masks are required for all visitors, as well as respecting physical distance of 2 meters between non-household members. Hand sanitizer will be available. Visitors will need to bring their own drinking water.

For now, guided group visits and activities are not available, to protect the community. However, teachers and youth group leaders are encouraged to contact info@lesfruitsdemer.com to find out about the many things that are currently offered to schools and youth groups, including free books and other free, fun educational resources.

The Amuseum features outdoor exhibits and scenic views.

Access to the indoor areas and services of the Amuseum is now available by appointment on a case-by-case basis. These include Soualibra, the free research library about St. Martin, and the free Heritage Preservation services. Those interested are invited to contact info@lesfruitsdemer.com for more information.

The Amuseum can also be visited virtually at any time at http://amuseumnaturalis.com/. The Amuseum@Home program of free ebooks, activities, short films and games based on St. Martin nature and heritage are available at http://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/category/athome/ or by visiting Les Fruits de Mer on Facebook. The free Heritage Backup program and tools are available at http://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/projects/heritage-backup/.

St. Martin Nature Books Available at Amuseum Naturalis

Ten different local nature books are available at Amuseum Naturalis.

Nature lovers and book lovers have something to celebrate on St. Martin. Ten different books about local wildlife are now available at Amuseum Naturalis, including eight in English and two in French. All of the books are full of vivid color images and great stories about the island’s unique nature. They are published by the Les Fruits de Mer association.

“The last edition of our wildlife guide was completely sold out. So it’s great to have it available again–plus a bunch of other beautiful books!” said author Mark Yokoyama. “Most of them are available in print for the first time, and it’s really nice to sit down and flip through the pages. We’re especially excited to have the long-awaited French edition of the St. Martin wildlife guide!”

The first French edition of The Incomplete Guide to the Wildlife of St. Martin has been published thanks to a micro-project grant from the French Agency for Biodiversity’s Te Me Um resource center and its members. The project financed the French translation by Amandine Vaslet and the printing of 200 copies for schools. Teachers who would like a free copy for their classrooms can pick it up at Amuseum Naturalis.

The Incomplete Guide to the Wildlife of St. Martin is now available in French.

Copies of the French and English versions of the wildlife guide are also available to teachers from French Quarter thanks to the Quartier + Musée project funded by CGET and the Collectivité de Saint-Martin under the Politique de la Ville program. Teachers from French Quarter are encouraged to stop by the Amuseum to pick up their copies.

For the general public, books are available for purchase at Amuseum Naturalis at The Old House for $10 to $20. They are also available on Amazon for those not on the island.  As always, digital versions can be downloaded for free at lesfruitsdemer.com. Amuseum Naturalis is on the hill above Galion Beach in French Quarter. It is open 9am to noon, Tuesday to Saturday, and entry is free to all.

Nature Panels

Want more local education in your school? Get in touch to find out how you can get panel reprints from Amuseum Naturalis on many different local topics. Panels are 120cm by 80cm and can be printed on a variety of materials for indoor or outdoor use.

Plants:

Made-for-Island-Life-120×80-1

Tree-of-Life-120×80-1

Animals:

Only-on-St.-Martin-120×80-1

Bat-Cave-120×80-1

Gut-Life-120×80-1

Invaders-120×80-1

Birds-in-Paradise120x80

Caribbean-Critters-120×80-1

Amazing-Diversity-120×80-1

Big-Pink-120×80-1

Kingdom-of-the-Night-120×80-1

Jack-Spaniard-120×80-1

Secret-Nests-120×80-1

Ecology:

Team-Clean-120×80-1

Plants-to-the-Rescue-120×80-1

Plastic-Problems-120×80-1

Iguanas-on-the-Edge-120×80-1

Sharks-of-St.-Martin-120×80-1

Shadow-of-a-Drought-1-120×80-1

Shadow-of-a-Drought-2-120×80-1

Shadow-of-a-Drought-3-120×80-1

Heritage Panels

Want more local education in your school? Get in touch to find out how you can get panel reprints from Amuseum Naturalis on many different local topics. Panels are 120cm by 80cm and can be printed on a variety of materials for indoor or outdoor use.

Food Traditions:

Fruits-of-the-Land-120×80-1

Amerindian-Gardens-120×80-1

A-New-Home-120×80-1

Rice-and-Peas-120×80-1

Healing Traditions:

Caribbean-Healing-120×80-1

Cures-Across-an-Ocean-120×80-1

West-Indian-Weed-Woman-120×80-1

Nature and Culture:

Flamboyant-120×80-1

Stone-Walls-120×80-1

The-Shell-Collector-120×80-1

Flamboyant-Richardson-120×80-1

Eco-5000-120×80-1

Personal Histories:

Elises-Salt-Story-120×80-1

Precious-Memories-120×80-1

Amerindian Culture:

The-Moho-Stone-120×80-1

Volunteer Day!

Huge thanks to our awesome volunteer team! The Amuseum needed some clean-up and rearranging after our summer break and we got it mostly back in shape in just one morning!

Let’s make a museum together! Join us for upcoming volunteer dates on October 12th and October 19th!

Amuseum Naturalis Celebrates a Year at The Old House

Amuseum Naturalis is hosting a happy hour on Saturday to celebrate one year of operations at The Old House.

The public is invited to stop by Amuseum Naturalis for an end-of-season happy hour from 4-6pm this Saturday, July 20th. The Amuseum will be celebrating one year at The Old House in French Quarter and the end of the season. After Saturday, the Amuseum will be closed until October.

“It’s hard to believe we launched Amuseum Naturalis at The Old House just a year ago,” said Jenn Yerkes, President of Les Fruits de Mer, the association behind the Amuseum. “So many people helped transform the place into a museum, and we’ve had so many great experiences with visitors, school groups and summer camps. We look forward to finishing this fantastic year with a fun happy hour!”

Amuseum Naturalis opened at The Old House on July 22, 2018. Since then, the Amuseum has had over 6,000 visitors. Over 2,000 kids visited with schools, youth groups and summer camps. 

Amuseum Naturalis has welcomed over 6,000 visitors to The Old House over the last year.

Amuseum Naturalis is a free museum of the nature, history and culture of St. Martin and the Caribbean, created by the Les Fruits de Mer association. It is located at the historic Old House in French Quarter on the hill above Le Galion. It is an all-volunteer project, and over 300 people have spent over 5,000 hours to create and operate the Amuseum.

Over 300 people have volunteered to help build Amuseum Naturalis.

Amuseum Naturalis will be open from 9am to noon Tuesday to Saturday until July 20th, and admission is free. It is located at The Old House, on the hill above Galion Beach in French Quarter. It will re-open in October. More information is available at http://amuseumnaturalis.com. Join the happy hour on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/2856709844370549/

Learn, Help and Share at Amuseum Naturalis on International Museum Day

Guests share songs around a campfire at one of the Amuseum’s previous Cultural Happy Hours.

International Museum Day is Saturday, May 18th, and all are invited to participate at Amuseum Naturalis. Visit the Amuseum 9am to noon for free to celebrate and learn about the island’s nature and heritage. Join in as a volunteer from 3-5pm to help make the Amuseum better. Come share your knowledge and talent, or just enjoy, at the free Cultural Happy Hour from 5-8pm.

“Have you been to a museum lately?” asks Les Fruits de Mer President Jenn Yerkes. She can think of two good reasons why you should go: “I think everyone can learn something new at Amuseum Naturalis, even people who know the island very well. We’re also a community museum. We record and share information from the community so this culture and heritage isn’t lost.”

Amuseum Naturalis is a free museum of nature and heritage located at The Old House in French Quarter. It features over two dozen exhibits covering many local topics, from animals to architecture and poetry to bush tea. The Amuseum has attracted over 5,000 guests since it opened at its current location in July 2018.

The Amuseum is created entirely by volunteers, and monthly volunteer days typically attract 25-50 people. Many of the volunteers enjoy the chance to make new friends while gardening, building or cleaning. The Amuseum has hosted several Cultural Happy Hours, featuring acoustic music, poetry readings and other performances. These events are a great chance to enjoy the grounds and gardens of The Old House, a place that feels very remote for busy St. Martin, especially on a full moon night.

International Museum Day is celebrated by museums all over the world, on or around May 18th. The annual event’s goal is to raise awareness that “Museums are an important means of cultural exchange, enrichment of cultures and development of mutual understanding, cooperation and peace among peoples.” In 2018, more than 40,000 museums participated in the event, in some 158 countries.

Amuseum Naturalis is an all-volunteer museum, and you can join in on Saturday from 3-5pm.

“It’s really exciting to be part of International Museum Day,” said Amuseum co-founder Mark Yokoyama. “St. Martin has its own wildlife, culture, history and language. There is no big national museum here, but St. Martin needs and deserves museums as much as anywhere else in the world. On the plus side, anyone can help the museums we do have. Anyone can have a voice in how the story of St. Martin is being told.”

People can also take part in Museum Day activities at the St. Maarten Museum on Front Street in Philipsburg. It will be open from 9am to noon, and they will celebrate with the 2019 International Museum Day theme: Museums as Cultural Hubs: The Future of Tradition. There will be games for the children and informative presentations.

Amuseum Naturalis is open from 9am to noon Tuesday to Saturday and admission is free. The Museum Day volunteering will be from 3-5pm on Saturday, May 18th and the free Cultural Happy Hour will follow from 5-8pm. The Amuseum is located at The Old House, on the hill above Galion Beach in French Quarter.