Musée de Nouvelle-Calédonie
Lonely Planet review for Musée de Nouvelle-Calédonie
The Musée de Nouvelle-Calédonie gives a fascinating introduction to traditional Kanak and regional Pacific culture. Local exhibits are displayed on the ground floor and there are regional artefacts on the mezzanine level. Brochures and explanations are in French and English.
The ground-floor exhibition begins in a dimly lit area where a magnificent collection of flèche faîtière (wooden roof-top spears) and other esoteric carvings exude a mystical aura. Behind this area is a case (hut), which you can step inside, filled with the distinctive smell of dried straw and woven coconut fronds. Other displays include traditional Kanak musical instruments, clothing, fishing tools, hunting and war weapons, bamboo engravings, and both miniature and life-sized models of watercraft.
It's easy to overlook the collection of petroglyphs in the museum's courtyard if you're not aware of their historical significance . In a grassy area off the courtyard there's a case. Its smoky smell comes from the smoky fires that are lit inside it to preserve the thatch and keep it waterproof.