Terramar Museum was founded without a collection of its own. As a result, the museum is almost entirely dependent on object loans and donations. Institutions that have thus far provided Terramar Museum with long-term loans are the Florida Museum of Natural History (FLMNH), the St. Eustatius Center for Archaeological Research (SECAR), and the National Archaeological and Anthropological Memory Management (NAAM) from Curaçao. Private individuals have also provided objects for long-term loans, and have even donated objects as well.
The collection on display at Terramar Museum is extremely varied and can be divided into several components. Amerindian objects spanning nearly 7,000 years of human history include stone, shell, and flint tools, ceramic vessels and fragments, artifacts of personal adornment such as figurines and beads, and ritual objects and paraphernalia such as ceramic adornos, a threepointer zemi, and a cohoba pestle.
Objects dating to the colonial period include clay tobacco pipes, glass slave beads, slave shackles, and Spanish olive jars. Objects found in underwater contexts and on historic shipwrecks include glass wine bottles, ceramic gin bottles, personal objects of sailors such as shoes, cups, and cutlery, and ship parts such as wooden pulleys and iron nails.
Objects in the museum’s collection come from a wide variety of islands and countries throughout the Caribbean, including Bonaire, Curaçao, St. Eustatius, the Dominican Republic, Antigua, Jamaica, Martinique, Haiti, the Bahamas, Trinidad, Venezuela, and Grenada.
An important aspect of the museum’s mission is to further the study of the archaeology and history of the Caribbean region. As such, the museum is actively involved in research activities and welcomes researchers to use its facilities. The museum encourages and supports activities that increase awareness and understanding of its collection, particularly to the general public. The museum has, however, a strict policy regarding the use of its collection for research purposes, which can be found in our Collection Management Policy.
For more information about our collection, you can download our Collection Management Policy here.