The Museo Curaçao is set in a nineteenth
century countryside house, Kas di Pal'i Maishi (Sorghum Stalk House) and
is located in the rural western side of Curacao. The Kas di Pal'i Maishi
of Museo Curaçao dates back to the mid-nineteenth century. It is the
prototype of the simplest form of house construction during the
seventeenth, eighteenth and early twentieth century, by descendants of
slaves in the surroundings of plantation houses in Curaçao.
The interior of the museum is decorated with
furniture of that period, exhibiting the lifestyle of the people living in
the countryside. Visiting Museo Curaçao will take you back in time, where
you can learn about the customs and artifacts used in those days.
The Kas di Pal'i Maishi, also called the Kas di Yerba (House of Thatch) or
Kunuku (Rural) House, represents the indigenous Curaçao dwelling that
dotted the countryside in bygone years. The slave dwelling by origin, the
Kas di Yerba was built of locally available materials and according to
locally developed building techniques. The rectangular plan of more or
less 40 square meters and the symmetrical set-up with an entrance in the
middle, originates from the West African region, the place of origin of
the slave population brought to Curaçao.
The walls are tapered and constructed of wattle and daub filled with stone
particles, or simply a rubble stone pile construction, with a clay plaster
finishing on both sides. The floor was sealed with a mixture of clay and
cow dung to acquire a firm and durable surface. The hipped roof was
covered with palu di maishi (sorghum leaves), resting on rafters and
purloins for which tree branches were used. The materials used were highly
effective as protection for the hot sun.
The interior space of the Kas di Yerba consisted of a bedroom and a family
room, which also served as the children's bedroom. The parents slept in
their sleeping quarter on a reed mat or a cot. The decoration was very
simple and consisted of a few chairs matted with reed strips, a little
table, a mirror and a hat-and-coat stand. Oil lamps provided lighting. The
walls were decorated with pictures of roman-catholic saints.
The toilet and quite often also the kitchen were build separate from the
house and were quite often made of wood. The kitchen of Museo Curaçao is
equipped with traditional utensils used for cooking and managing the
household. Most of the times, there was also an oven outside used to bake
bread and other traditional dishes.
Food was eaten out of dried calabash and coconut halves. A small quantity
of sorghum and other types of vegetables were grown for home consumption
and to feed the animals. The sorghum was crushed to meal by pounding it in
a wooden mortar (pilon). Water was stored outside the house in a large
jar. Drinking water was scooped with calabash or coconut halves attached
to a wooden handle, poured into small jars (poron’s) and taken inside.
The houses were often surrounded by a fence of cactus plants (kura di datu).
This cactus fence marked the private yard and kept out roving goats and
Very few Kas di Yerba’s are still standing in Curaçao. Its model however,
has been reproduced in the more urbanized districts of the island built of
wood and brick walls, tiles and corrugated iron roofs. The Kas di Yerba’s
are considered monuments of Curaçao’s culture.
The Museo Curaçao's Kas di Pal'i Maishi was restored and brought to its
original form by the Stichting Monumentenzorg Curaçao.
The museum represents former Curaçao customs and lifestyle.
|Museo Curacao - Kas di Pal'i Maishi
Dokterstuin 27 - Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles
864-2497 - E-mail:
Hours: Tuesday - Friday,
09:00 - 16:00 hrs. ●
Saturday - Sunday, 09:00 - 17:00 hrs.
Adults, NAf. 3.50 (US$ 2.00) -
Children, NAf. 1.50 (US$ 0.80)
are given on request at no additional charge.
is a small souvenir shop selling locally made handicrafts and a
restaurant serving local food on the museum premises.