Another milestone for historical museum

By Vatapuia Maiava ,

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Jim Wineger presenting Freida Keil with her special award.

Jim Wineger presenting Freida Keil with her special award.

The museum which is dedicated to the life of one of Samoa’s most historical figures, has reached a new milestone.

The 22nd anniversary of the opening of the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum (R.L.S.M.) was celebrated on Thursday night with a cocktail function.

Along with special guests from different leadership roles in Samoa, the Miss Samoa 2016 contestants also made a special appearance.

After a series of speeches and the presentation of special awards to Aumua Ming Leung Wai and Freida Keil, guests were treated to a wonderful night. “It’s a great pleasure for me to highlight some of our achievements for 2016,” said Museum General Manager, Margaret Silva.

“The R.L.S. Board of Directors feels a great obligation to address all of his life, but the best part of it all is that we have Vailima, the living laboratory for exploring his life in Samoa; one of the best places on earth.

“The Museum continues to receive substantial outside funding so that it can be kept open for the good of Tusitala lovers and writers. It is still continuing its quest to become self-sufficient and to one day become the top tourism attraction in the entire Oceania region. It is making its progress towards that goal.

“Regular admissions are stable, but the most important element for growth is the ability to generate revenue through the visits of cruise ships to Samoa.

“In saying this, we have had eight cruise ship visits to the museum and we believe there are more on the way. More visitors to the museum also present more opportunities to increase income in the R.L.S. M. gift shop.”

The Museum has also had a number of educational visits from local school and visiting schools from overseas.

 “Schools who regularly bring their students to the museum come to learn more about the colonial days of Samoa and also the history of Tusitala which is very important for our future generations.”

Ms. Silva continued to share 2016’s highlights. “This year we had a visit from a delegation from Japan along with their Ambassador to Samoa,” she said.

Jim Wineger presenting Aumua Ming Leung Wai with his special award.
Jim Wineger presenting Aumua Ming Leung Wai with his special award.
Museum General Manager, Margaret Silva addressing the guests.
Museum General Manager, Margaret Silva addressing the guests.
Ani Vaiaoga, Lyllah Fepuleai, Joyita Tavita and Victoria Malaoga.
Ani Vaiaoga, Lyllah Fepuleai, Joyita Tavita and Victoria Malaoga.
Leilani Taufao, Tapule Taufao, Gabrielle Apelu, and Callum Jones.
Leilani Taufao, Tapule Taufao, Gabrielle Apelu, and Callum Jones.

“Then there were visits from the Ambassador of Poland in New Zealand, members of the Samoa International Game Fishing tournament that was held in Samoa in April, and a visit from the Brigham Young University  nursing students.

“We were also honoured to have the Minister of International and Pacific Affairs of Australia with Her Excellency Sue Langford on one of their visits to the National League of Samoa educational programme for Vailima Primary school.”

Aside from official visits, the Museum has also been a preferred venue for many special occasions throughout the year.

“The R.L.S. Museum has hosted many beautiful weddings, family reunions and many other events,” Ms. Silva said.

“It is also a popular venue for government officials to host and entertain their groups who come to Samoa. “We have hosted the after match functions for both the Manu Samoa matches with Tonga and Georgia, the staff and I were very happy to see the boys in person.”

Another success for the Museum over the past year is the exposure it has received.

 “From the Herald magazine in Scotland; the Survivor Samoa film crew, the Cook Island film crew, and many wedding shoots in the local newspapers and also on our Facebook page.”

But just like any other establishment, they are only as good as the support they receive.

“I would like to take this opportunity to express my thanks and appreciation to all our tour operators who are here tonight,” Ms. Silva said.

“The reality is, we wouldn’t be able to survive without your help; thank you again for all your support to the Museum. 

“I am very happy to announce that the Government of Samoa has approved to signing over one of the automobiles used for the S.I.D.S. conference for the official use of the R.L.S. Museum.”

© Samoa Observer 2016

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