Vilu War Museum is an open-air museum displaying one of the biggest collections of World War II artefacts in Solomon Islands. These artefacts, mostly American and Japanese, have been collected over the years from different parts of Guadalcanal making it the biggest collection of World War II artefacts in one place in the Solomons.
Like all self-respecting war museums in the Solomons worth going to, Vilu is situated down a road with no signs and long grass on either side. The owner has made several attempts to put a sign on the main road but pipol kept going walkabout with it so he stopped trying. Obviously, somebody is dead set on making sure all the tourists have a hard time trying to find World War II Museums in Solomon Islands.
To get to Vilu, start from the old Mambo Juice/New Tasahe Bulkshop sign and count 22.5 km to reach a white picket fence on the right hand side. Continue on the road and look for the first left about 100 m up from the white picket fence – there is no sign to tell you it’s the right left. Turning left, drive down the road for about 500 m, then left again. At this point, if you squint hard, you’ll see the sign for Vilu.
A small concrete building marks the entrance of Vilu War Museum. We spent a minute or two looking at the sign before someone came out to show us around. Have your fingers crossed for the daughter because she’s the best at explaining things.
Vilu certainly wins the award for the War Museum in the Solomon Islands with the best manicured gardens. We don’t know the right war jargon, but you can expect to see aircraft, tanks, artillery, and parts of aircraft, tanks, artillery. There are also memorials put in place by the governments of the countries that took part in the Battle of Guadalcanal: Japan, America, New Zealand, Australia and Fiji. The plaques from the Japanese and the Americans make for interesting reading and placing them next to each other really shows the contrast in their cultures.
Vilu doesn’t neatly fit the museum mould as there aren’t any flashy signs or information plaques, or cafes at the exit with nice slices. However, there are zero barriers to stand behind and no ‘no-touching’ signs. Are the exhibits being preserved or slowly breaking down in the elements? Needless to say, you won’t be exiting through the gift shop. Perhaps, I could be so bold as to describe Vilu as, ‘charming’.
If you like looking at old war things put
Drive east. From the old Mambo Juice/New Tasahe Bulkshop sign, there is a white picket fence on the right hand side about 22.5 km. The first left hand turn from the fence, about 100 m, turn down and drive for about 500 m. You’ll need to turn left again and you’ll see the sign.
SBD 100 per person