CHARLOTTE AMALIE, U.S. Virgin Islands -- St. Thomas opened the
French Heritage Museum July 17, a museum chronicling the years of
French culture on the island, in a three-room building that had sat
bereft in the Frenchtown section here since Hurricane Marilyn blew
off its roof in 1995.
Volunteers renovated the site, which had been used in the past
as a firehouse, a preschool and kindergarten facility and a medical
clinic. Locals donated more than 275 heirlooms relating to the
French presence in the U.S. Virgin Islands, which dates from the
mid-19th century when an influx of families immigrated from St.
Barts and St. Martin after several hurricanes were followed by
years of drought.
Artifacts include a carved mahogany bed frame, an old map of
Paris and 80-year-old meat hooks that belonged to the local
butcher. Histories of local families will be stored in a computer
accessible to the public.
The museum is open weekdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For
information, call (340) 774-2320.
To contact reporter Gay Nagle Myers, send e-mail to [email protected].