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Cook Islands Library and Museum

Through art and literature, learn about the history and traditions of the Cook Islands in a library and museum run by friendly local residents.

Away from sunny shores and thick island vegetation is the peaceful refuge of the Cook Islands Library and Museum. Come here to learn about the fascinating past of this region of more than a dozen islands scattered across the Pacific Ocean. Borrow books for your beach reading too.

See displays of cookware used in the Polynesian islands for centuries. The music exhibit includes the well-known ukulele and other lesser-known instruments: the pate (wooden slit drums), vivo (wooden nose flute) and shell trumpet. Examine intricately carved weaponry and admire the Cook Islands shell exhibits. Local photographs and artwork adorn the walls. Hanging from the ceiling is a giant bedcover called a tivaivai. Its 56,000 small squares combine to show an outrigger canoe speeding through the waves.

Photo exhibits include works by local artist Alistair Campbell and Bill Johnson’s documentation of the British Royal Family visit in 1974. Appreciate the traditional ceremony of local residents clad in green fronds carrying esteemed visitors on litters high in the air.

Volunteers support this organization in two buildings dedicated to preserve the history and culture of the Cook Islands. The library has progressed from a mobile operation at the back of the bus to a permanent structure in the capital city. Examine the colorful mural on the building’s exterior depicting ancient and ongoing aspects of the Cook Islands. Animal life includes birds, fish, lizards and a whale. Notice the sun, ocean, sandy shores, primitive sailing boats and native clothing illustrated in a colorful Polynesian art style

Purchase local reference books. Before you leave the island, drop off your used reading materials to contribute to the library’s collection. Pay for a visitor membership to be able to borrow library materials during your stay on the island. The museum is open Monday to Saturday mornings and Tuesday evenings. There is a fee and no photos are allowed inside.

Cook Islands Library and Museum is in northern Rarotonga in the uptown area of Avarua, close to many island restaurants and accommodations. Fly to the island from Auckland in 4 hours or Sydney in 6 hours.


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Best Lodging Options Near Cook Islands Library and Museum

See all 188 Properties near Cook Islands Library and Museum
Langste Raro Retreat
Langste Raro Retreat

Langste Raro Retreat

Rarotonga, Avarua District
     
    0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in Avarua, this vacation home is steps from Cook Island Christian Church (CICC), Cook Islands Library and Museum, and Para O Tane Palace. Cook Islands National Museum and Beachcomber Pearl Market are also within 10 minutes.

    Paradise Inn $73
    Paradise Inn

    Paradise Inn

    Main Road, Maraerenga, Rarotonga
       
      3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Nestled on the beach, this Avarua hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Cook Islands National Museum and Cook Island Christian Church (CICC). Para O Tane Palace and Beachcomber Pearl Market are also within 10 minutes.

      MK Studio Rarotonga - Modern Island Bach
      MK Studio Rarotonga - Modern Island Bach

      MK Studio Rarotonga - Modern Island Bach

      Rarotonga, Matavera District
         
        0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Avarua, this apartment building is steps from Cook Island Christian Church (CICC), Para O Tane Palace, and Cook Islands Library and Museum. Cook Islands National Museum and Beachcomber Pearl Market are also within 10 minutes.

        Ocean Spray Villas
        Ocean Spray Villas

        Ocean Spray Villas

        Tupapa, Avarua, Rarotonga
           
          4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Nestled on the beach, this Avarua villa is within a 10-minute walk of Beachcomber Pearl Market, Cook Islands National Museum, and Cook Island Christian Church (CICC). Para O Tane Palace and Cook Islands Library and Museum are also within 10 minutes.

          Wellesley Hotel Rarotonga $163
          Wellesley Hotel Rarotonga

          Wellesley Hotel Rarotonga

          Puoromea Road 49A 2B, Avarua, Rarotonga
             
            3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Avarua, this bed & breakfast is within a 10-minute walk of Para O Tane Palace and Punanga Nui Market. Cook Island Christian Church (CICC) and Cook Islands Library and Museum are also within 15 minutes.

            Tiarepuku Pool Villa
            Tiarepuku Pool Villa

            Tiarepuku Pool Villa

            Paitai Rd Ara Metua, Pue, Avarua District, Rarotonga
               
              4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Avarua, this villa is within a 15-minute walk of Beachcomber Pearl Market, Cook Islands National Museum, and Cook Island Christian Church (CICC). Para O Tane Palace and Cook Islands Library and Museum are also within 15 minutes.

              Club Raro Resort $122
              Club Raro Resort

              Club Raro Resort

              Ara Tapu, Avarua, Rarotonga
                 
                3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Avarua, this beachfront resort is in the historical district and within 3 mi (5 km) of Cook Island Christian Church (CICC), Cook Islands Library and Museum, and Punanga Nui Market. Muri Beach and Te Rua Manga are also within 6 mi (10 km).

                Ruatonga Villa
                Ruatonga Villa

                Ruatonga Villa

                Ruatonga Road, Avarua, Rarotonga
                   
                  3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Avarua, this vacation home is within 1 mi (2 km) of Punanga Nui Market, Para O Tane Palace, and Cook Islands Whale and Wildlife Centre. Cook Island Christian Church (CICC) and Cook Islands Library and Museum are also within 1 mi (2 km).