Courtesy of: The Morning News
By: Rosalie Klein
An ardent historian, Mario Odor, (RIP), was dedicated to the preservation of island and regional history and culture. He established the Odor Family Foundation, which resulted in the Numismatic Museum in 1975 and the Antique and Heritage Museum in 1994 in their home at Timbalstraat, in the Dakota area of Oranjestad.
The first is now closed, the second, usually only open to the public on March 18, Aruba’s National Day, or by appointment. It houses a remarkable and eclectic collection of fascinating artifacts, encompassing a diversity of topics demonstrating Aruban history and development, plus that of the region, and even the world.
It was announced on Monday afternoon, February 25, that three ministries have joined together to establish the Aruba Museum Foundation, which will be dedicated to seeing such collections are made available on a daily basis to the public for viewing and education.
The collection is remarkable and spans millennia. Ancient fossils stand next to tableaus of an authentically recreated colonial kitchen and bedroom and 19th century barbershop, just to name a few of the examples of old time Aruba that have been preserved.
Art by noted contemporary artists can be found along with the original newspapers recounting world shaking events, such as the Russian Revolution, or a actual wanted poster for Jesse James.
Minister of Tourism, Transport and Labor, Otmar Oduber, was joined by Minister of Finance, Energy, Telecommunications and Utilities, Mike de Meza in the former B.J. Arends Hardware store in San Nicolas in making the announcement. Alice van Romondt represented Minister of Economic and Social Affairs and Culture, Michelle Hooyboer-Winklaar, in signing the papers officially establishing the Aruba Museum Foundation.
This first project will be temporarily housed in the former store, which had been donated by owner Milton Harms, to be used as an after-school community center for San Nicolas youth. It is a very attractive space, with several rooms that would lend themselves to just a venture.
It is planned to find a permanent home for the collection in one of the landmark buildings being restored in San Nicolas. An agreement was also signed with a representative of the Odor Family Foundation for the free use by the Aruba Museum Foundation of this extensive collection for the next five years at a cost of 95,000 Arubian florins. ($54, 285 U.S.)
Minister Oduber mentioned that the museum will be open during the hours of the weekly Carubbian Festival that takes place on the main street of San Nicolas every Thursday evening. This will provided added value to the visitors of the event, as well as generally to entice tours to San Nicolas.”I would like to see the town and its many interesting sites become a regular part of the itinerary of most tour companies,” he expressed. The building where this historic collection will be housed is directly behind the CMB Bank, adjacent to the festival streets.
Monies for the establishment of the museum are being provided by the Tourism Enhancement Fund as well as investment by the San Nicolas Business Association. Projected opening date of the San Nicolas Community Museum is Monday, March 18 of this year.