Businessman Charles Reed Bishop, in 1850, married Princess Pauahi, the last legal heir of the Kamehameha dynasty. When she died in 1884, Bishop decided to build a museum to honor her memory and her life of philanthropy. Founded in 1889, the Bishop Museum was constructed on the grounds of the original campus of the Kamehameha Boys school (which itself had been created under the sponsorship of the Princess in order to benefit native Hawaiian children). By 1940, the school had moved to a new location, allowing the museum to take over the whole property and expand. Today, with over twenty four million artifacts, it is the largest collection of Polynesian cultural and natural specimens in the world. Along the walls of the "Hawaiian Hall" (the original building) are display cases made from prized Koa wood (the second most common tree in Hawaii). These cases are now considered to be worth more than the cost of the original building. Many of the first pieces given to the museum came from private collections of Hawaiian royalty. Situated next to the "Hawaiian Hall", is the Watumull Planetarium. Built in 1961, it is the first (and, thus, the oldest) planetarium in Polynesia, and, itself, sees over six million visitors per year. Getting to the Bishop Museum for us in central Honolulu was relatively easy. Depending upon traffic conditions, it was a comfortable twenty-to-thirty minute ride on the #2 bus. While bus system rides in Hololulu generally cost $2.50 per person, , for seniors, it is only $1.00 per person (after showing our Medicare card). There certainly is enough to see at this museum to make it an all day excursion, and we felt it was well worth it.
Businessman Charles Reed Bishop had originally planned to create a museum to house family heirlooms given to him because of his wife's royal lineage...
...when his wife of thirty four years. Princess Pauahi, died in 1884, he decided to honor her memory and life of philanthropy with the museum.
Located on the grounds of the original Kamehameha Boys School in the historic Kalihi district of Honolulu, the Bishop Museum has been designated the Hawaii State Museum of Natural and Cultural history, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
"Hawaii Hall" was the original museum building, and was opened in 1889.
Like many palatial style buildings of its era, the entrance hallway included a grand staircase.
The walls of this main exhibit hall are lined with display cases made from Koa wood, which are now considered to be worth more than the original construction costs of the building itself.
The traditional "Hale Pili " (i.e sleeping house") grass hut was one of several such structures that made up a Polynesian compound.
This model depicts how the hut would be constructed. The skeleton of the hut was made of posts from "... The dense native wood uhiuhi, and lashed together with cordage...".
Throughout Polynesia, the rank of Chief was symbolized by the wearing of feathered capes and hats such as these.
The "Kahili" standard, signifying power from the divinities, has been the symbol of the Hawaiian ali'i Chiefs and noble houses of the Hawaiian islands for centuries.
Portriat of King Kamehameha the Great.
Found in 1880, it is unknown. Just how old these stone bowls actually are.
One of the more dramatic demonstrations is at this lava flow exhibit in the Mamiya Science Adventure Center (designed as a learning center for volcanology and marine science).
Many villages throughout Polynisia used wooden slit drums like these during ceremonies, and occasionally to communicate with other nearby villages.
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Carl and Lorraine Aveni are two retirees planning on traveling through Europe for at least one year.