Art Galleries and Museums Await Country Reopening in Samoa

Journalist Fuimaono Lumepa Hald of the Samoa Observer recently wrote an article about how art galleries and museums in the capital Apia are looking forward to the opening of Samoa’s borders on August 1 when the first commercial flights arrive.

A survey of selected art galleries and the Museum of Samoa by the Samoa Observer pointed to an air of excitement at the return of normalcy following two years of lockdowns and State of Emergency (S.O.E.) restrictions.

The Robert Louis Stevenson Museum General Manager, Alofimua Margaret Silva, told the Samoa Observer that the historic museum has stayed open for the past two weeks. “Since the borders are reopening we have decided to keep the museum open for its normal 40 hours a week,” she said.

“We only opened three days a week when the pandemic caused us to be more restrictive but now we are back to full swing.”

The Robert Louis Stevenson Museum comes under the Robert Louis Stevenson Fund Inc. set up by the late President of the Fund, Jim Winegar and Tilafaiga Rex Maughan, the Chairman of the R.L.S.F. “The Trust has kept us going so we are paid as well as the maintenance of the museum is being up kept,” Alofimua said.  “But now we are fully swinging our doors open for the coming week and I hope we get more tourists.”

As for the Museum of Samoa, it has been open as part of its regular hours, according to the Principal Museum Officer Sharon Roma.

Ms Roma said that the museum is waiting to launch its website which will be formalised once the process is completed. “For the borders reopening we hope to launch our new website,” she told this newspaper. “There was one before but we had to reconstruct a new one because the last one was no longer available online.”

The previous website was donated by the UNESCO office in Apia for the sake of heritage sites preservation and in a bid to educate the public on the significance of historical monuments. It is understood that the last administrator of the site was not able to convince the Ministry to keep the site online.


The Robert Louis Stevenson House Museum. Photo from ICAS

Ms Roma then mentioned that the site was given the same domain name as the last one. “We are using just like the last one,” she said. “The idea is to get people to know more of what is going on in the museum.”

Preparations have also begun at the Manamea Art Studio with Lalovai Peseta telling this newspaper that 13 artists have collated and designed an exhibition that was officially launched on Thursday evening.

Mr Peseta told the Samoa Observer that the theme of the exhibition is to display the idea that most people in Samoa think art is a waste of time. “You know whenever we talk of art here, people say, is it something you can eat? Implying that it is a waste of time,” he said. “Well the exhibition by all the artists is to inform people of the priceless passion in the work of art that people can come to see and experience.”

The Madd Gallery located at Moto’otua, owned by Momoe Malietoa Von Reiche, also opens from 9am to 1pm according to her daughter Olga Von Reiche Keil.

Ms Malietoa Von Reiche told the Samoa Observer that her gallery will be open full-time from Monday 1 August.  “I just came out of COVID-19 so I am picking up the gallery again and I am also teaching,” she said. “Right now, the gallery is open from 9am to 130pm. But if I am not teaching I leave it open till much later.”

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