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Former Archaeological Museum
Erected between 1910 and 1911 by the Aruban government as a central government office building, called “Landskantorengebouw” (Government Office Building) under supervision of the Department of Public works of Aruba, which at the time formed part of the Curacao Public Works Department. As told by Hartog, governor Beaujon hired some workers for this job.  It is completely freestanding and located on a lot bordered mainly by the junction of the Wilhelminastraat and Zoutmanstraat. The mainly symmetrical fronts display an austere horizontal and vertical rhythmical style and design details with neo-classical influences. On September 10, 1910, the foundation stone was laid.

Oranjestad harbour with Government Office Building at the far right


In the authorities’ diary of  the then temporary governor Hendrik Johannes Beaujon is written on that date: “Today the first stone has been laid of the new offices to be constructed in Oranjestad.” In the front façade I have built in a sealed bottle with a short document saying the following:”.

In the diary five sentences had been reserved for the text of this document; however these were never entered. On Saturday, March 25, 1911, the building was inaugurated. The building at the time of construction was situated near the coastline of the Paardenbaai Bay. In 1939 this coastline was moved further southward by human engineering. Since 1929 this building has been the governor‘s office for some time, when Governor Wagemaker had to give up the old governor ‘s residence and office to the marines. On the second floor of the building there were the offices of the lieutenant Governor, the civil registration and the population register (till 1934), also the tax collector. On the ground floor the customs office could be found. The building has had numerous residents and in 1920 it quartered the post office, the telegraph office (the generator necessary for this was driven by a high windmill) and the port authority; on the second floor the tax collector, the post office chief, the officer of the Public Prosecutor, the customs inspector etc. were situated. Court sessions were held and civil marriage ceremonies performed in a special council hall and courtroom.

In 1936 the public health department was located in this building. In recent years it has been the home of the Aruban Archeological Museum. Later it has been the home for the Monumentenbureau and the Stichting Monumentenfonds, Fundacion Desaroyo Comunitario and BUVO.

former Archaeological Museum (north face)

The structure has been adapted and modified over the years. A notable change regards the staircase leading to the second floor. Currently this is situated on the right side of the gallery; for a long time there was a mirror-image replica of this on the left side. These stairs were originally built of wood. The outer bays of this second floor were open and formed part of the gallery. The main features of the building have remained largely unchanged.

N.B. The recent metal railings on the ground floor are excluded from protection.

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