The SS
President Coolidge

An exhibition of artefacts commemorating
the 80th anniversary of the ship’s sinking

October 26 - November 26 2022

South Pacific WWII Museum
Unity Park, Luganville
Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu

“S.S. President Coolidge at sea” from Los Angeles Times Photographic Archives, UCLA - Library Special Collections licensed under CC Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

Welcome to

The South Pacific WWII Museum

From crystal clear seas where Tales of the South Pacific was born. Where three American President’s served their county – along with the with the First Lady of another. And the derring-do of young aviators, soldiers and sailors would become the thing of legends, comes a wartime history many have long forgotten and many more never knew existed.

Base Button on Espiritu Santo in Vanuatu, grew from nothing on a quiet, peaceful island – known more for its coconut plantations than bomber bases and stevedoring – into the largest military base in the South Pacific, playing host to over 500,000 service men and women.

We’re now sharing that history with the very descendants of those who supported the Allied war effort in the Pacific. With our plans to expand  into a new world class museum building, our dream is coming alive to commemorate, preserve and pass on the amazing history of what was then known as New Hebrides, to new generations of Ni-Vanuatu and visitors from around the world.

Honouring the many

Latest news from the Museum project.

Photo Yelena Isaak - Niva Studios, Luganville.

October 26 - a day to remember

The Coolidge 80th Anniversary Commemoration and Exhibition Opening on Espiritu Santo is a huge success Read more…

News in brief

November 7 – What a day it was on October 26 with the S.S. President Coolidge 80th Commemoration and Exhibition coming to Luganville. We have all the coverage in this month’s newsletter. Plus we have received an incredible surprise donation to the Museum and another beautiful Pacific Theatre collection is on its way north. You’ll find it all right here.

October 2 – Not long to go now before our commemoration and exhibition for the 80th anniversary of the sinking of the Coolidge. With that in mind we’ve got some wonderful news about some exhibits, a gift coming from the United States and some generous sponsorships for the events on October 26. You’ll find it all right here.

September 6 – The sound of the Coolidge is set to ring out for the first time in 80 years, thanks to the Museum’s restoration of one of the famous ship’s whistles. That’s our big lead story in this month’s newsletter, that’ll you find here.

August 5 – It’s our biggest newsletter to date and we unveil to the world the amazing aircraft found just weeks ago in the Segond Channel. Plus we cover the Museum’s plans for our Coolidge 80th anniversary commemorations and the Coolidge exhibition beginning on October 26. That and lots more in our July newsletter, that’ll you find here.

July 6 – Our June edition of the Museum newsletter is another cracker! Of particular interest are the three new collections acquired by the Museum. Two have come from the USA, while the third is an incredible find for Museum Chairman Bradley Wood – a jar of silver coins, buried since WWII. You’ll find it all in our latest newsletter here.

June 2 – The May edition of our Museum newsletter is live. And we probably don’t need to tell you what the lead story is. Yes, Stage 1 of the museum project is our feature bumper story. You’ll also find a great story on a new collection donated to the Museum just this week.  You’ll find it all in our latest newsletter here.

May 6 – The April edition of our Museum newsletter is another fascinating mix of history from throughout the South Pacific, including another dog tag that was found over near Million Dollar Point and the story of the Japanese pilot who crashed landed on an Hawaiian island after the Pearl Harbour attack and survived – what happened next was quite extraordinary.  You’ll find our latest newsletter here.

Apr 1 – Much happening again this month with a wonderful new collection of personal items arriving from the United States. There’s also a great story of the ‘bombing of Adelaide’ with oranges and Coca-Cola!, a B-17 that rose from the ashes named ‘Swoose’ and much more. You’ll find our latest newsletter here.

Mar 6 – Another big month at the Museum with a lot going on as we head towards what will be our busiest year ever. Some great stories this month about our bank vault – yes we have finally identified it. Some more on the ‘fifth airfield’ on Santo. James has a chat to some yachtties and much more. You’ll find the February issue here.

Feb 4 – 2022 kicks off with a fantastic edition of our monthly newsletter. Things are ramping up this year at the Museum, we take you on a trip up to northern Santo to a remote radar site, we catch aircraft in mid-air with a hook, ram a Japanese submarine and more! It’s all in this month’s newsletter you’ll find here.

The museum's newest large exhibit arrives

It was a monumental task getting our latest exhibit from the USA. (story)

Our first ever dedicated museum exhibition

The Coolidge exhibition means redecorating the museum.
(story)

 
 

A ship's namesake and a bottle of pop

A bottle of spring water brings goodwill from the USA.
(story)

 
 

Coolidge whistle one step closer to testing

It’s laid silent since it went down in 1942, but will soon come to life. (story)

 
 

The South Pacific WWII Museum and Project Office is now open.
Visit us Monday – Friday from 8.00am – 5.00pm.