The Museum of American Samoa was established in 1970 by First Lady Jean P. Haydon with the original collection housed on the first floor of the Governor’s Residence. The American Samoa Fono (Legislative Assembly) codified the Museum into local legislation in 1971 and it officially opened its doors at its current location on Flag Day 1973.
The Museum complex is located in downtown Fagatogo across from the US Post Office and the historic building portion was built in 1917. The original building is a good example of the distinctive Naval architectural style and was built in response to the tropical climate. The entire original building is built from concrete, including the rooftop. It served as Commissary until the US Naval Administration ended and was repurposed to serve as the US Post Office for almost twenty years. The building was ultimately converted into the Museum of American Samoa in 1971. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. The Museum was later renamed the Jean P. Haydon Museum by declaration of the Fono in the mid-1970s in honor of its founder First Lady Jean P. Haydon. The Museum complex was updated during the administration of Governor Lolo Moliga to include a two-story building connected to the main gallery, an additional Fale Samoa for arts and crafts projects, and the Sogelau Memorial Park.
The Museum is now home to over 650 cultural and historical objects. The Museum is governed by a five-member Board of Trustees as appointed by the Governor as outlined in the American Samoa Code (Title 17 Chapter 04). The Board of Trustees serve as stewards overseeing the operations, funding, and planning for the Museum and its collections.