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Visiting the Culebra Museum

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Visiting the Culebra Museum Photo © Zain Deane
Culebra isn't exactly known for its culture. But it does have a museum of history, and it's a pretty interesting place to visit. Located outside the town of Dewey along Route 250 (away from Flamenco Beach and toward Zoni Beach), it's a solitary red-brick building that was built in 1905 by the U.S. Navy and served as a munitions storage facility, or El Polvorín.

The building lay discarded for the better part of the century until the Culebra Foundation took it over and, over time, converted it into a museum of island history. The building was inaugurated as a museum in 2008.

So what can you expect to find here? For a small, one-room museum, quite a bit, including:

  • A series of black and white photos of the island dating from the 1930s and 1940s.
  • Artifacts and remains of the native Taíno tribe that once called Puerto Rico home.
  • A beautiful authentic wooden piragua, or canoe (not native to the Taíno Indians but rather built by Amazon Indians and still a pretty nice exhibit.
  • Remnants of the presence of the U.S. Navy, including casings, shells, and other evidence of the Navy's use of the island as a testing ground.
  • Books, t-shirts, and decorative gourd bowls (a Taíno tradition) for sale.
  • A terrific young docent, Quetcy A Padrón Gauthier, who works at the museum on a volunteer basis, knows her history, and is a wonderful cultural ambassador for the island.
  • Two beautiful replicas of schooners and ships that once sailed to the island.
For a small museum built by Culebrenses for Culebra, it's a cool place to learn a bit about the island's history, and discover what's beyond the beaches. Especially as it only costs $1.
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