The Museum of Tahiti and the Islands (or Musée de Tahiti et des Îles) represents one of the world’s most important repositories of cultural and natural studies concerning the Polynesian archipelago. It is divided into 4 sections covering nature and anthropology, habitations and artifacts, social and religious life and finally the history of French Polynesia.
Costumes, customs, handcrafts and rituals of the island-dwellers are all thoughtfully presented, along with etchings and drawings capturing Europeans’ first impressions of the South Pacific.
Natural wonders on show include stuffed birds, preserved plants and a display of seashells, some particularly large. The museum’s own natural surrounds are free to visit, and abound with native species.
The Museum is in the town of Punaaiua on the east coast of Tahiti, past the airport on the main ring road leading from Papeete.