The primary reason for me to come to Munda, was to dive, but while on the surface, I also wanted to see something of interest. One afternoon, I headed east along the dirt track lined by traditional houses, until i reached the soccer field, I crossed it while youngsters were playing, and arrived at the house of Barney. My plan was to see the small museum, and then explore the neighborhood; it was still a couple of hours before sunset. But things would unfold differently. A welcoming owner, Barney himself, introduced himself to me, and before I knew it, he was guiding me through his small museum with all kinds of objects he found in the jungle surrounding Munda. Some were simply abandoned when the war was over, some were recovered from bodies he found, or aircraft that had crashed during the war.
Housed under a palm-tree leaf hut which is choke-full with items from the Second World War, the museum extends on either side where you can find many, mostly bigger, items on display as well. There are in fact so many things on display, and there is so much information, that it could easily fill a modest building. Barney showed me Japanese and American helmets, drinking bottles (and the unmistakeable shape of Coca Cola bottles), cutlery, watches, shavers, guns, ammunition and many more items. Moreover, he was able to explain what he was showing with a profound knowledge and enthusiasm that soon convinced me that this was much more than just a hobby. We walked through the museum over and over again, and each time, he would take out something else to show me, and would talk about it with the same zeal.
While I was still browsing at the museum, Barney went to his house to fetch the Box. It appeared to be a collection of yet more items, like hand grenades, Japanese knives, dog tags from both the American and Japanese army, and the family shell money used to settle disputes and get the permission to marry out a son. The dog tags explained the name of the museum: the first tag found by Barney had belonged to Peter Joseph. Some of the more amazing items are outside: take for example the landing gear of Japanese and American fighter planes, or the engine of one of the American aircraft, or a rusting Japanese cannon. Both sides of the museum are lined by helmets on poles; American helmets next to Japanese ones - once fighting each other in a brutal war, their head wear has been next to each other for a longer time than the war ever lasted.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Peter Joseph WW II museum (Solomon Islands). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Peter Joseph WW II museum.
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