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Vassar College

Publication Date

Fall 2015

Program Name

Samoa: Pacific Communities and Social Change


The purpose of this study is to ascertain and analyze the challenges the Museum of Samoa faces in its efforts to preserve and interpret aspects of Samoan history and culture. The Museum strives to interpret and preserve Samoan culture. Samoan culture is still practiced today, but is impacted by globalization, climate change, and loss of skills such as oratory and knowledge of genealogies. Participant-observation was conducted at the Museum of Samoa, as were interviews with relevant personnel. The challenges the Museum faces stem from Samoa’s status as a developing nation: education, healthcare, and infrastructure receive priority funding. Many people question the need for an institution for the preservation and interpretation of Samoan culture. However, the Museum has the potential to become a more relevant space for the continuity, discussions, and teaching of Samoa’s tangible and intangible culture.


Anthropology | Pacific Islands Languages and Societies | Social and Cultural Anthropology