With the goal of providing visitors a view of the past while at the same time exhibiting contemporary local and international art, the Curacao Museum is both a history museum and an art museum. It includes period rooms furnished with antiques as well as gallery rooms. All of this is done in a historic building surrounded by pleasant gardens.
The museum was established by Dr. Christiaan Engels and his father-in-law Rudolph Boskaljon in February in 1946. To house the museum, they selected a 19th century Dutch colonial building which had once served as a military hospital. Over the next two years, the museum building was renovated under the supervision of architect J. Henk Werner who had previously renovated the Rijkmuseum in Amsterdam. 80,000 guilders were raised for the contents. The Curacao Museum opened to the public in March 1948.
Most of the artwork is displayed in two large galleries and in the central hall of the building. However, there are also temporary exhibits in the adjoining SNIP Gallery building.
The collection is not devoted to a single type of art but rather encompasses styles such as European figurative works, landscapes, Africian-inspired works, and abstracts. While there is an emphasis on art connected to Curacao, artists from other countries are also represented. One unusual work in the the collection is a painting by Hans van Meegeren, a well-known Dutch art forger.
In addition to the art galleries, the museum contains several period rooms. In addition, to the mahogany antique furniture, there are a number of paintings and other artwork in these rooms. The museum also has several statues in the gardens as well as the cockpit of an airplane in the SNP Gallery. The historic Folker airplane was used by KLM airlines in providing service between the Netherlands and Curacao.
There are 5,000 square meters of gardens surrounding the museum. Much of this is shaded by tamarind and other species of trees. The atmosphere is quiet and peacful.
The museum is located on the outskirts of Willlemstad outside the area usually frequented by tourists. However, it is within walking distance of the Mega Pier cruise ship port. It is also often a stop on Curacao highlights cruise ship shore excursions.
For more information on visiting, see the Curaco Museum website.
For more information on Curacao, see our Curacao profile.
Above: One of the gallery rooms.
Below: One of the period rooms.
Places to see art - - Willemstad, Curacao - - Curacao Museum