Salt River Bay Visitor Contact Center above Columbus Landing reopens Wednesday with a new set of archeological and photographic exhibits.
The National Park Service is putting on the display in acknowledgment of the 519th anniversary of the first armed encounter between the Old and New Worlds, when Christopher Columbus’ flotilla arrived on what the native Taino people called Ay Ay in 1493.
The exhibit, "Artifacts of St. Croix’s Past," celebrates Folmer Andersen’s archaeological collection from St. Croix, one of the largest in the Caribbean. It presents a series of photographs of artifacts in the collection produced by David Berg and Sarene Brumant. Park Service cultural resource program manager Josh Torres has written descriptions explaining the meaning and context of the artifacts represented.
The display will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday until June, except for holidays.
From 6 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Torres will give a public lecture, ‘Navigating Cultures: Models of Migration and the pre-Contact Caribbean Cultural Mosaic.’ This talk is based on Torres’ continuing research on the history of indigenous people in the region.
At 7:30 p.m. Kiki and the Flaming Gypsies will present an interpretive fire dance choreographed specifically for the occasion. Refreshments and activities for children will be on hand when the doors open at 5 p.m.
Some of the current conceptual drawings for the marine research education center planned for the site also will be on display.
Saturday, the Visitor Contact Center will again be open, this time for a public lecture by Antonio Curet from the anthropology department of the Field Museum of Natural History, part of the St. Croix Archaeological Society’s annual meeting program. Curet will present a talk at 10 a.m. entitled ‘Caciques, Bateys, and Plazas: The Archaeological Project of the Ceremonial Center of Tibes, Puerto Rico.’
Curet is a specialist in Taino archaeology and the prehistory of the Greater Antilles.
This initiative is part of the park service’s public information campaign to raise awareness of Salt River Bay’s important cultural and natural resources and the joint role that the Government of the Virgin Islands and the National Park Service play in their protection.