Fiji Museum

Fiji Museum information

Location
Suva , Fiji
Address
Ratu Cakobau Rd
Telephone
+679 331 5944
More information
www.fijimuseum.org.fj
Prices
adult/child $7/5
Opening hours
9am-4.30pm Mon-Sat
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This museum captivates visitors with a journey into Fiji’s archaeological, political, cultural and linguistic evolution. To enjoy the exhibits in chronological order, start with the displays behind the ticket counter and work your way around clockwise. Original examples of musical instruments, cooking apparatus and jewellery – including chiefs’ whale-tooth necklaces – and a daunting array of Fijian war clubs and cannibal utensils give a vivid insight into traditional life. Taking centre stage is the massive Ratu Finau (1913), Fiji’s last waqa tabus (double-hulled canoe), which measures 13.43m long and includes an enclosed deck for inclement weather.

The growing influence of other South Pacific and European cultures is documented in a hall on the other side of the museum shop. It is here that you’ll find the well-chewed, but ultimately inedible, shoe of Thomas Baker, a Christian missionary eaten for his indiscretions in 1867. Upstairs, a small Indo-Fijian hall chronicles some of the contributions made by the Indian workers and their descendants who were brought to Fiji in the 1870s as indentured labourers. Also on the same floor is a gallery of beautiful masi by some of Fiji’s finest contemporary artists.

The museum continually undertakes archaeological research and collects and preserves oral traditions. Many of these are published in Domodomo, a quarterly journal on history, language, culture, art and natural history that is available in the museum’s gift shop. It also organises craft demonstrations. Contact the museum for times.

After visiting the museum, ponder your new-found knowledge with a wander through the compact but beautiful Thurston Gardens . The dense conglomeration of native flora and surrounding lawns are less manicured and growing more haphazard with every coup, but it was here that the original village of Suva once stood. It’s a lovely spot for a picnic – particularly if you camp yourself under one of the grand and stately fig trees.