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“fascinating little museum about ni-van cultural identity”

The Vanuatu Cultural Centre
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Port Vila Self-Guided Audio Tour
Ranked #13 of 58 things to do in Port Vila
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Newcastle, Australia
Level 3 Contributor
20 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
“fascinating little museum about ni-van cultural identity”
Reviewed September 6, 2013

Though the layout of the museum has changed considerably since visiting, the Vanuatu Cultural Centre illuminates a certain part of ni-Van history and identity. As far as appreciating the culture, you could certainly do worse than to spend an hour here.

Exhibits aren't exhaustive, but generally touch on the composition of traditional Melanesian society using an array of artefacts: masks, garments, weapons and accessories. There is also some effort to depict the natural life occupying Efate, and of most interest, the independence of Vanuatu (formerly the New Hebrides) over some thirty years ago. A store with a certain number of overpriced wares, mostly books, is interesting to have a cursory look at nonetheless. If you have any committed interest to the history of Vanuatu, some of the books are worth reading.

Of course there is also the sand drawing, which seems to be the most enjoyable aspect of the centre for tourists. One of the guides will spend some time using the drawings as an object to discuss some of the myth narratives of the culture. Symbolism and reverence of natural entities, as in most traditional islander societies, is interestingly complex and developed. Whilst the art and narrative associated with sand drawing has, of course, faded out of practice, seeing it drawn and described is an attraction that should sustain the interest of just about anyone.

Visited October 2012
Thank ground-view
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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165 reviews from our community

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Melbourne, Australia
Level 3 Contributor
19 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
“Definitely a must see”
Reviewed August 31, 2013

The Vanuatu Cultural Centre is extremely interesting and provides a good insight into the history and the people. The staff are very helpful and if you want to buy artefacts the price is better than the markets and you receive a certificate which I was asked to produce at the airport on departure.

Visited August 2013
Thank Lorraine W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Torquay, Australia
Level 6 Contributor
228 reviews
92 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 74 helpful votes
“Wonderful Insight”
Reviewed August 11, 2013

If you have the time a couple hours here is well worth the time. Make sure you are there when one of the guides explains and demonstrates the sand drawings. They are amazing. A wander through the exihibitions provides an understanding of some of the aspects of the cultural and spiritual aspects of NiVans.

We walked up from the town centre past the parliament and found it quite easily.

Visited September 2012
1 Thank John W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cooma, Australia
Level 5 Contributor
69 reviews
35 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“You have to go to the Cultural Centre”
Reviewed August 10, 2013

Just gave us an understanding and a wonderful overview of the island and it's life. We certainly would recommend the Cultural Centre and in particular if you have children.

Visited August 2013
Thank 639Kay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brisbane, Australia
Level 5 Contributor
52 reviews
21 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
“Small, but interesting museum”
Reviewed August 7, 2013

Although the museum is currently under renovation and will soon be transferred into the new adjacent building, the content was very interesting. It was a bit limited in content and displayed in a thematic rather than areal way. The artefacts on display were not many as expected in a country with a large number of tribes who have diverse culture. I hope that the objects on display will be increased. This museum is a work in progress, but still worthwhile visiting.

The gift shop has a variety of artefacts for sale. We enjoyed the sand-drawing demonstration.

Visited July 2013
Thank Travelman19xx
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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