“This is a very exciting time for us and is the culmination of a lot of hard work by the team in Vanuatu”, says Alma Wensi, Manager of the museum. “We’re also very thankful for the generous support and hard work by James Carter of brokenwings.com.au who built the website for the museum”, he said. “It lets us share our vision for the museum with everyone and we’re looking forward to people from around the world visiting the site and seeing what we’ve got planned here on the island of Espiritu Santo.”
The museum which is in its initial phase of planning, will be a world class complex built right beside the Sarakata River in the middle of the town of Luganville – once home to a US Navy base during World War II. It’s location, so close to Luganville’s main shopping and commercial area, will provide an economic and cultural centerpiece for the town and provide ongoing employment and training opportunities for the local Ni-Vanuatu people.
The museum aims to be more than just displays of war-era relics, but a fully immersive, interactive experience about the Pacific Theatre during World War II. It will also feature a café and restaurant, a theatre, extensive archives, conservation areas and recreations of significant military sites throughout Vanuatu, amongst its vast displays.
Visitors will also have the opportunity to explore Santo’s rich World War II history first hand. With around 400,000 soldiers, sailors and airmen stationed on the island at its peak, the diversity of former airfields, bases and other World War II sites all over Santo is nothing short of astounding. As the museum’s Founding Chairman Bradley Wood puts it, “the museum will stand in the middle of the biggest museum in the world.” And it’s these sites that visitors will have the chance to visit. Some of the tours will be walking distance from the museum, while others will involve guides from local villages taking visitors on all day hikes through the jungle to reach them. This aspect of the museum is what will make the South Pacific World War II Museum so unique and quite unlike anything anywhere else in the world.
The museum has been designed by leading Australian architect John Pierce who has been influenced by the traditional World War II Quonset Hut design and has turned it into something quite spectacular. The huts, still an historic feature of Luganville, were built by the Americans during World War II for a range of uses. It’s
their unique, hangar-like roof design that forms the basis of John’s vision for the Museum.
Having been granted title from the Vanuatu government for the land upon which the museum will be sited, the team are now swinging into fundraising mode to take the project to the next stage.
The new website can be found at:
A video interview with Bradley Wood discussing the ultimate vision for the museum is available on Vimeo at:
More information about the South Pacific World War II Museum can also be found on their Facebook page.
Alternatively, the museum may be contacted via email at: