Founded in 1889, The Bishop Museum is the largest museum of science and history in Hawai’i and has the world’s largest collection of Polynesian cultural artifacts and natural history specimens. It was built by Charles Bishop, founder of First Hawaii Bank, in the memory of his wife Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop. Princess Bernice was the last legal heir of the Kamehameha Dynasty.
Now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the museum was built on the original boys’ campus of Kamehameha Schools, an institution created at the bequest of the Princess, to benefit native Hawaiian children.
The museum library has one of the most extensive collections of books and special collections concerned with Hawai’i and the Pacific. The archives hold the results of extensive studies done by museum staff in the Pacific Basin, as well as the Royal family memoirs, photographs, artwork and maps.
Also on the campus of Bishop Museum is the Jhamandas Watumull Planetarium, the oldest planetarium in Polynesia. http://www.bishopmuseum.org/ I attended a show called “Wayfaring” on navigating Polynesia by the stars. I was very illuminating.
During my three hour visit I was given an excellent overview of the history of Hawai’i and its people. The Bishop Museum is a must see for those interested in the background on the royal family and how they lived or how these islands were forms. I would highly recommend this for anyone visiting O’ahu.
Slit drums welcoming visitors to the Pacific Hall
When built in 1898 the local newspaper dubbed these two structures as “the noblest buildings of Honolulu”.
The roof of the museum was made of copper and the floor tiles were picked out in Italy. The designs were very eye catching.
Two-story Pacific Hall explores Moananuiākea, the wide expanse of Oceania.
Ward’s Whale bought in 1901 for $2500 is a big draw for visitors to see.
The three floors of Hawaiian Hall take visitors on a journey through the different realms of Hawai‘i.
Floor in Pacific Hall showing early navigation routes used by Polynesians
Bishop Museum’s Jhamandas Watumull Planetarium was the first planetarium in Polynesia.
Properly educated on the Hawaii’s royal heritage I was ready for a visit to nearby Iolani Palace. The Palace was built in 1879 to enhance the prestige of Hawaii overseas and to mark her status as a modern nation. After the overthrow of the monarchy, and imprisonment of the Princess, Iolani Palace served as the Capitol for almost 80 years. When the government offices vacated the Palace in 1969, physical restoration of the Palace began. I’m so glad they restored her to the original grandeur. Iolani is a magnificent royal palace. http://iolanipalace.org/
These barracks on the grounds of the Iolani Palalce in downtown Honolulu were once the home of the Hawaiian Royal Palace Guard.
Hawaiian Royal crest on ceiling of veranda.
Throne room where Queen Lili‘uokalani relinquished power to avoid bloodshed of her people.
Iolani had electric lights and indoor plumbing to offer their guests during the magnificent state dinners and balls held here. Electric prior to White House and Buckingham Palace.
King Kalakaua, Queen Liliuokalani’s brother.
The rich interior features a beautiful koa staircase, dramatic portraits of Hawaiian royalty, ornate furniture and royal gifts and ornaments from around the world.
The private living quarters of the royal family and listen to the tragic story of Liliuokalani’s imprisonment in an upstairs bedroom following the overthrow.
Iolani Coronation Pavilion, where in 1883 Kalakaua was crowned king.
This royal residence included Hawaii’s first electric light system, flush toilets and intra-house telephone in this room.
The patchwork crazy quilt known as the Queen’s Quilt — created in the fashion of its era — is a 97-by-95-inch, nine-panel cover that documents Lili’uokalani’s time as a prisoner at Iolani Palace in 1895. Messages documenting the most significant events of her life: “Imprisoned at Iolani Palace … We began the quilt here” are woven into the quilt.
Just as Hawaii’s idyllic weather beckons to tourists, like me, from around the world, the warm shallow waters surrounding the main Hawaiian Islands are a favorite destination for humpback whales to breed, calve and nurse their young. Native Hawaiians also believe the whales are family guardians, and so these gentle giants are treated with great respect. After showing respect to the Hawaiians royal family, I decided to show respect to their guardians and boarded a sunset cruise.
Humpback whales are one of the larger species of baleen whales, with adult males ranging between 40 and 52 feet and weighing up to 45 tons. Despite their size, humpback whales are surprisingly graceful acrobats. How do I know? I was able to watch them frolic.
You’d be surprised how close you feel when a 45-ton behemoth lunges out of the sea! The power is amazing. I am happy to report the Endangered Species Act and other laws protect the whales from hunting, harm and disturbances so generations can enjoy their gentle presence.
Dream. Explore. Discover this week.