The New Guam Museum, Part Two

In yesterday’s posting we saw what the new Guam Museum looks like from the outside. Today let’s go inside and see what the museum has to offer for visitors and students and anyone else who would like to learn more about the history and culture of the Chamorro people as well as Guam’s natural environment.

The reefs around Guam contain more than 1,00 species of fish and more than 300 species of coral.

Click on any photo to see a larger version of that photo. Click again for an even larger version of that photo.

Chamorros made traps to catch shrimp and used sticks to catch freshwater eel and fish.

I have first-hand knowledge of the sand fleas that inhabit most of the beaches!

The ancient Chamorros were excellent sailors and navigators.

We saw coconut crabs, spiders and butterflies on our jungle walks but did not spy any monitor lizards this time.

Not too many birds left on Guam, thanks to the introduction of the brown tree snake after the war.

How plants were cultivated for dress and food.

Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese sailing under the Spanish flag, landed on Guam in 1521. The natives had never seen nails before and stole as many as they could. Consequently, Magellan called the place the “Isle of Thieves!”

Chamorro natives were excited to see Magellan’s ship.

The lives of Chamorros changed forever with the coming of Spanish priests and soldiers.

The Spanish government took control of Guam 159 years after Magellan first discovered the island.

A Spaniard jumped ship in 1602 and lived on Guam for seven months and later wrote of his experiences.

My granddaughter learns about Chamorro culture.

Family life before the war.

The Chamorro culture stresses respect for elders.

The story of the ancient Chamorro people. That’s my wife on the left and yours truly taking a selfie behind the text!

The Japanese attacks on Pearl Harbor and Guam occurred at about the same time.

More then 14,000 native Chamorros were displaced during the war and about 1,400 died.

Father Duenas was a hero during the Japanese occupation. He would not tell the authorities where an American serviceman was being hidden and who was hiding him and was then executed.

World War II survivors are honored in these museum displays and elsewhere. We attended a War Survivors dinner during our latest visit to Guam. My wife was seven months old when she and her family and thousands of other Chamorros were liberated by US soldiers and Marines who landed on Guam on July 21, 1944 and reached the Manenggon  Concentration Camp nine days later.

The fourth name under the large December 8, 1941 text is that of my mother-in-law: Maria B. Santos.

My wife’s father Jose A. Santos is also somewhere on this list (sorry about the blurriness).

My wife’s family was relocated to the village of Sinajana after the war and that is where she grew up. Sinajana is just a couple of miles east of Hagatna.


Chamorro women of the 20th century combined both Spanish and Polynesian traditions in their dress and professed the Catholic religion that was initially forced upon them by the Spaniards 500 years ago. Tan Deda above lived to the advanced age of 101.

The Guam seal and its explanation.

On August 1, 1950 President Truman signed the Organic Act of Guam which gave citizenship to the Chamorro people of Guam.

In these displays Chamorro people tell their own stories in their own words.

It’s pronounced “see Ju-oos Ma-ah-see” and is preferred to the English “thank you.”

For decades the Guam Museum was constantly relocated from spot to spot. It once inhabited the Guam Premier Outlets in Tamuning. And there once was an exhibit in the lobby of the Bank of Guam in Hagatna. We toured the exhibit in 2004 when it was located in the Micronesian Mall in Dededo. During the  twelve years from 1995 to 2007 when Tony Palomo directed the Museum he constantly pushed for a permanent location. Tony died in 2013 at the age of 81. Three years later the Senator Antonio M Palomo Guam Museum and Chamorro Educational Facility opened its doors.

For more information on the Guam Museum take a look at their website here.



About crowcanyonjournal

I am a family man with interests in family history, photography, history and travel.
This entry was posted in Guam, History, Travel, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The New Guam Museum, Part Two

  1. kzmcb says:

    Very informative.

  2. disperser says:


    I wonder if we’d be as excited to see spaceships as the natives were to see galleons.

    . . . we might not even notice them as most people are staring into their phones.

  3. Pieter says:

    Very interesting to read all this. Reminds me a lot of the Maori and the people of Hawaii. I’m sure that they have common ancestry!

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