Amid the Philipsburg hurly-burly of cruise-ship crowds and touts hawking duty-free goods is this modest-seeming repository of the island's fascinating past. It's easy to dig deep here, however. On display are ancient relics from the island's first people, the indigenous Arawak, including pottery shards and zemis (spiritual totems), figures with fierce faces. Look for artifacts (barrel hoops, musket balls, ceramics) from the Dutch frigate H.M.S. Proselyte, which sank on a coral reef as the citizens of Philipsburg watched in 1801; the wrecked bones of the ship are now a popular dive site. Photos and eyewitness accounts tell the terrifying tale of Hurricane Luis's wanton destruction in 1995. Visitors can also explore the narrow cobblestoned streets of historic Philipsburg with one of the museum's walking guides. Stretching along the Great Bay waterfront, Dutch St. Maarten's capital was founded in 1793 and much of its 18th-century and 19th-century architecture remains.
St. Maarten/St. Martin
St. Maarten/St. Martin› Attraction
St. Maarten National Heritage Museum
7 Front St., St. Maarten
Our Rating Neighborhood Philipsburg Hours Weekdays 10am–6pm Phone 721/542-4917 Prices Admission $5 Web site St. Maarten National Heritage Museum