Preserving Jewish Curaçao
About The Jewish Cultural Historical Museum
The Jewish Cultural Historical Museum (JCHM) was founded in 1970 to preserve and display objects related to the Jewish community of Curaçao. Today, the museum maintains its original mission and promotes research and record keeping of important objects and history of Jewish Curaçao. Housed in two historic Jewish buildings, the previous residence of the community’s Rabbi and the ritual bath house, the Jewish museum has preserved the history of Jewish Curaçao for more than 50 years
About the Museum
Learn about nearly 400 years of Jewish life in Curaçao!
The Jewish Cultural Historical Museum (JCHM) was founded in 1970 to preserve and display objects related to the Jewish community of Curaçao. Today, the museum maintains its original mission and promotes research and record keeping of important objects and history of Jewish Curaçao.
finding our home
The museum is housed in two historic buildings, the previous home of the presiding Rabbi and the Mikvah, the community’s ritual bathhouse. Formerly known as #26 and #28 Kuiperstraat, respectively, the two buildings date back to the 17th century. The Curaçao Foundation for the Preservation of Monuments bought the two severely deteriorating buildings in 1965 and began renovating them.
The presence of Jewish symbols on the buildings’ façade led to the foundation offering the Jewish community of Curaçao to use the buildings as a Jewish museum. The community accepted and created the Museum Committee, who worked with the foundation to restore the buildings and gather objects of historical significance from the Jewish community to exhibit in the museum. The museum officially opened to the public on November 15, 1970.
In the late sixties a Museum Committee was by the newly united Mikvé Israel-Emanuel congregation to lay the groundwork for the establishment of our museum. This Committee worked with the Foundation for the Preservation of Monuments to ensure that the restoration process met the needs of the museum. They also met with members from both the Mikvé Israel and Emanu-El communities to gather objects of historical significance from the Jewish Community to exhibit. In later years, also members of the Shaarei Tsedek community became involved with the museum. Although many people have contributed to the Museum’s success these past decades, the following deserve special mention.
– Sha Capriles
– Jessy Jesurun
– Miriam Capriles
– Charles Gomes Casseres
– Myrna Moreno
Meet the museum’s team
Phyllis Meit has served as the curator of the Jewish Cultural Historical Museum since March 1, 2018. She was born and raised in Curaçao and returned to the island in 2017 after living abroad. In her youth, she attended Hebrew school and was a member of the Ashkenazi Shaarei Tsedek community. As the museum’s curator, she has done extensive research and writing for the museum’s exhibits and the experience has helped her reconnect with her Jewish roots.
Yvonne Samuel has worked at the Jewish Cultural Historical Museum since July of 2009. She is a valued member of the museum staff and always makes sure the museum is spotless and the collection is regularly polished and cared for. Yvonne assists the curator when necessary and together they make up the museum team.
Born in Medellin Colombia, her family moved to Curaçao when she was young. She relocated to the Netherlands for her studies, where she pursued a bachelor’s in computer science and later continued her studies in Tourism. She worked with various international businesses, including Israeli companies, along the way she fell in love with the Jewish culture. She returned to the island in 2016 and now she can combine her studies and her hobby as the Collections Manager at the JCHM.
Susan Manilof-Seibald is an enthusiastic member of the museum team. She greets visitors and fills in for the curator when necessary. She was born and raised in Curaçao and belongs to the Ashkenazi Shaarei Tsedek community. She has been an active member of the Shaarei Tsedek congregation her whole life. She is married and has two children and grandchildren.
Volunteer Tour Guide
Marius Bremmer is a volunteer guide at the Snoa and Museum. He grew up in Enschede, where several Jewish families lived in the Netherlands. One of his best friends was Jewish. He and his family introduced Marius to the Jewish religion and culture. In 1986, on his first visit to the island, he met Jewish Museum curator Miriam (‘Maepi’) Capriles. She introduced him to her cousin Shon Ena Dankmeijer-Maduro, and they all became good friends. Miriam was ‘Oma Miriam’ to his children. Through Miriam and Ena, he got introduced to many in the Jewish community of Curaçao. From time to time, Marius and his wife Linda reside temporarily on the island, and when he is here, he offers his services to our museum as a volunteer guide. He loves showing tourists from around the world around and answering their questions about ‘the oldest synagogue in continuous use in the Americas.’
Volunteer Tour Guide
Harlan Cohen, from Washington DC, has long been interested in history. He was awarded a Ph.D. in Modern European History from the University of Cambridge in 1976, writing a dissertation on Vorarlberg’s wish to join Switzerland after World War I. He first came to live in Curacao in 1980 and became interested in the island's history and related areas. He married Patricia Salas from this community and has done secondary genealogical research on her family (which includes links to almost all of the Sephardic families of the island). Patricia and Harlan come to Curaçao for winter months, and Harlan volunteers as a guide to share with visitors the history of the Mikvé Israel-Emanuel Synagogue and of the broader community it serves.
Tsipora “Tzeepy” Gavra was born in Israel, but later moved to the Netherlands for her studies. Tzeepy lives partially in Curaçao and the Netherlands. As a volunteer, Tzeepy began utilizing her marketing skills to re-introduce the Jewish Cultural Historical Museum to the hotels and tourist offices in Curaçao post COVID-19 closures in 2020. She is continuously working on getting information about the museum published in various tourist magazines.
Xenia Kibbelaar was born and raised in Curaçao. She graduated from Bryn Mawr College in May 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in History and a minor in Anthropology. In the summer of 2020 she started working as a volunteer for the Jewish Cultural Historical Museum. As a volunteer, she was working on creating a database of the collection and managing the collection’s storage. From October 2021 to July 2022, she served as our museum’s first Collections Manager, after which she left to pursue a master’s in Archival Collections at McGill University in Montreal. She continues to volunteer with the museum.
Customer Service and Translation Colleague
Sue-Yenne “Susi” Kleinmoedig has been helping out at the Jewish Cultural Historical Museum for over two years. She fills in when and where needed: at the front desk, guiding visitors, in the depot, and she also does translation work in various languages and helped set up the museum's social media. Outside of the museum, she is also involved in various activities in her Jewish community and assists in the Jewish gift shop when necessary.
Anneroos de Kort-Reich
Translation and Educational Programming volunteer
Anneroos de Kort-Reich holds a master’s degree in History of Art from Leiden University and a bachelor’s degree in Education from Zuyd University of Applied Sciences. In 1992, she came to Curaçao for the first time. For three years, she worked at the Mongui Maduro Library in Landhuis Rooi Catootje and as a substitute at the JCHM. She later worked for the Cultural Heritage Agency in the Netherlands and at the University of Amsterdam as a teacher. With her family she returned to Curaçao and she has been working as a History teacher on this island for many years. As a JCHM volunteer, Anneroos translates our English and Hebrew texts into Dutch, edits existing Dutch texts, and gives valued advice on our educational content.
Visual Content Creation Volunteer
Maxine Russel was born and raised in Curaçao as a member of the Jewish community. She completed a bachelor’s degree in International Affairs and Sociology from Northeastern University. She later moved to the Netherlands where is now working as a Youth Project Officer in the education department at the Anne Frank Foundation. She continues to volunteer at the Jewish Cultural Historical Museum remotely and is an active media advisor and content creator for the JCHM and its affiliates.
Curatorial and Web content Development intern
Casey Sennett is a fourth-year student at the Pennsylvania State University pursuing her master's degree in Anthropology and bachelor's degrees in Anthropology, Jewish Studies, and History. Casey interned with the Jewish Cultural Historical Museum during the summer of 2021. As an intern, she wrote the text for the museum's website and created the museum's rotating "Jewish Curaçao: One Story at a Time" exhibit.
Web content Development Intern
Haven Harrington is a second-year student at the Pennsylvania State University double majoring in Classics & Ancient Mediterranean Studies and International Relations and minoring in German. Haven interned with the Jewish Cultural Historical Museum during the summer of 2021. As an intern, she helped write the Beth Haim Curaçao website and created the database for the two cemeteries.
Meet our Board of Directors
The Jewish Cultural Historical Museum (JCHM) was founded in 1970 to preserve and display objects related to the Jewish community of Curaçao. The museum’s board continues the preservation of Jewish Curaçao and oversees the operations and finances of the museum as well as provides guidance to the museum when necessary.
Connect with Us
Mikvé Israel-Emanuel Synagogue
Jewish cultural historical museum
Tickets are purchased at the entrance of the synagogue at Hanchi di Snoa 29. The Jewish museum is located adjacent to the Mikvé Israel-Emanuel Synagogue in the synagogue’s courtyard. The ticket also includes admission to the Mikvé Israel-Emanuel Synagogue.
The entrance fee is US $10 or 18 guilders per person, but the fee is waived for locals who can show a valid I.D.
The museum is usually open Monday to Friday from 9:00 to 16:30. Due to COVID-19, the museum is only currently open Tuesdays and Fridays from 9:00 to 16:30. It also opens on select Wednesdays for cruise ship passengers. For more information on what holidays the museum observes and updated COVID-19 hours, please visit our Hours and Tickets page .
It depends. For the full experience, expect to spend up to 1 1/2 hours at the museum. If you are in a time crunch, you should anticipate spending at least 30 minutes walking through the exhibits.
Currently, the museum does not have a gift shop, except for a few items which it sells at the front desk. The synagogue has a gift shop on the premises.
For information about the museum’s current exhibits, please visit our Exhibit page
No, photography and videography are not allowed inside the museum. For more information on our visitor policies, please visit our Visitor Policy page
Tickets to the museum include admission to the Mikvé Israel-Emanuel Synagogue
You can support the museum in a number of ways:
- Donate/loan objects to the museum:
- Become a friend of the museum or give a one-time donation or leave a legacy in your will to the museum:
- Volunteer or intern with the museum:
Please send us an email at email@example.com and we will assist you in making your change.
Interested in exploring our physical exhibits? Plan your visit to the Jewish museum today!