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War Weapons of the Pacific (Primitive Weapons and Modern Warfare)

DATES June 28, 1945 through September 16, 1945
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  • June 28, 1945 Jeeps go everywhere - even into museums! Go to the Brooklyn Museum and see for yourself. There is a real jeep right in the main entrance hall. And that’s not all to be seen, for the Museum is opening today a special summer exhibition WAR WEAPONS OF THE PACIFIC, and the United States Army has supplied two machine guns, 37 mm. and 50 mm., and two mortars, 60 mm. and 81 mm. The Army Signal Corps equipment includes a field telephone, a walkie-talkie, a signal lamp. Various types of ammunition are shown, as well as anti-personnel and anti-tank mines and all kinds of small arms. Large blowups of Army Signal Corps photographs showing actual combat scenes in the Pacific, add to the interest of this material,

    The United States Navy has lent a 40 mm. gun and two 20 mm. guns which are shown in the entrance hall together with some large photographs of the Navy in action in the Pacific. The big guns of the Navy are too large to get into the museum, but if you want to see what they look like there is a fascinating set of ten training models.

    Weapons used by the natives of the Pacific islands, clubs, spears, knives, bows and arrows, shields and armor, from the collections of the Brooklyn Museum and the American Museum of Natural History, are shown in contrast to the modern weapons of the Army and Navy.

    Hardwood clubs, used extensively in Polynesia, are most varied in the Fiji Islands. Some of the forms are the rootstock club,
    the lotus club with a broad flat blade, the pineapple club ending in a mass of bosses from which a single sharp point projects, and short throwing clubs with heavy round heads. Other distinctive types of Polynesian clubs in this exhibit come from Tonga, Samoa, Marquesas and the Maori of New Zealand. For the most part, these islands had no defensive armor. Shields were unknown. The use of true armor was limited to regions such as the Gilbert Islands where the cuirass, helmet and leggings were made from thick rolls of coconut fibre sewn together with cord. In these islands shark-tooth weapons are used.

    In Melanesia spears, bows and arrows are found as well as clubs. Bone-handled spears from New Hebrides, raffia-wrapped examples from the Solomon Islands and obsidian-tipped spears from the Admiralty Islands are represented. From New Guinea come barbed spears and hardwood clubs with stone heads. The Papuan shields are generally painted, and are bolder in decoration than those of the Trobriand Islands and Australia. Flat wood clubs, often carved or incised, are found in the eastern part of the island. Bows and arrows are especially important as weapons in New Hebrides, Solomon Islands and Santa Cruz.

    The arms and armor of Indonesia are, for the most part, constructed of metal. Included in this exhibit is a Moro coat of mail with a brass helmet and cannon from the Philippines. A wide variety of knives and shields is on view from the Philippines, Java, Celebes and Borneo.

    In connection with the exhibition, films on the War in the Pacific will be shown on Wednesday afternoons at 2:30 p.m. These showings are free to the public.

    On the Fourth of July the Navy Band will give a concert in the afternoon.

    The exhibition will be on view through September 16. Museum hours: Weekdays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sundays and Holidays 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

    Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1942 - 1946. 04-06/1945, 037-8.
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