Jean P. Haydon Museum, Pago Pago

#8 of 17 in Things to do in American Samoa
Museum · History Museum
The Jean P. Haydon Museum is a museum in Pago Pago dedicated to the culture and history of the United States territory of American Samoa. It contains a collection of canoes, coconut-shell combs, pigs’ tusk armlets and native pharmacopoeia. It also houses exhibits on natural history, tapa making, traditional tattooing, as well as a collection of war clubs, kava bowls, and historic photographs. Constructed in 1913 as U.S. Naval Station Tutuila Commissary, the building was home to Tutuila Island's Post Office from 1950–1971. The museum has displays of various aspects of the Samoan Islands’ culture and history. It is the official repository for collections of artifacts for American Samoa. Funded by the American Samoa Council on Arts, Culture and the Humanities, it is the venue used for numerous of the cultural resource activities in American Samoa.
The museum is located on the north side of Route 1 in Fagatogo, American Samoa, roughly opposite the main post office. The building in which it is located, formerly Navy Building 43 of Naval Station Tutuila, is itself historically significant as one of a few surviving buildings constructed by the United States Navy in 1917 with locally fashioned rusticated concrete blocks. The building served as the naval base's commissary until 1950, when it was turned over to civilian administration and converted to the island's main post office. The post office moved to new facilities, and in 1971 the building was opened as the museum, which is named for the wife of then-governor John M. Haydon. It was dedicated by anthropologist Margaret Mead, who had returned to American Samoa to visit Ta'ū Island, where she wrote Coming of Age in Samoa.
The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. The museum was accredited by the American Association of Museums in 1978. It established close ties with the Bishop Museum of Hawai'i.
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Jean P. Haydon Museum reviews

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  • The house of the Naval Commissary during World War II It is now a museum with an excellent collection of Samoan artifacts and handicraft  more »
  • This museum is right next to the cruise ship dock. There isn't a lot to do in town but this was a nice little museum to visit. They had staff there to greet us and the benefit of A/C was really nice....  more »
  • Staff was super friendly. They're in the process of expanding the museum but only have two small rooms displaying items as of this posting. Worth stopping by though. Admission is free but we gave a donation.
  • The place is still under construction. But its slowly turning out fine. The looks from the outside is awesome. Hopefully I'll get to see how it looks in the inside.

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