I’m not sure why but I never really think to take my kids to the Bishop Museum. As a kid, I’ve visited the museum on numerous occasions while on field trips and enjoyed the various exhibits. So I thought it was time to finally take the girls so they could learn a little more about Hawaiian culture.
Bishop Museum was founded in 1889 by Charles Reed Bishop in honor of his late wife, Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, the last descendant of the royal Kamehameha family. The Museum was established to house the extensive collection of Hawaiian artifacts and royal family heirlooms of the Princess, and has expanded to include millions of artifacts, documents and photographs about Hawai‘i and other Pacific island cultures.
Today, Bishop Museum is the largest museum in the state and the premier natural and cultural history institution in the Pacific, recognized throughout the world for its cultural collections, research projects, consulting services and public educational programs. It also has one of the largest natural history specimen collections in the world. Serving and representing the interests of Native Hawaiians is a primary purpose of the Museum.
courtesy of Bishop Museum
Our first stop was the Hawaiian Hall where we went on a journey through Hawaiian history.
This building is 3 stories tall with life-sized ocean creatures suspended from the ceiling. The first floor shares the life of Hawaiians before they had any contact with the outside world. They have a life-sized hale (shack) which the girls found very interesting. They couldn’t imagine the entire family living in just one room!
The second floor showed artifacts and educated us on the lifestyle of the native people. There was also a very cool hands-on area where the girls could pound tapa cloth (used to make clothing), play musical instruments (pu ili, uli uli, ipu), learn to wrap a lau lau, pound (make believe) poi, and even see some colorful feathers up close through magnifying glass.
The third floor is dedicated to Hawaiian royalty and important events in Hawaiian history. You can also see the insides of a full sized whale up close and personal.
My favorite room was the Abigail Kinoiki Kekaulike K?hili Room. It’s a small display room but it has such an amazing presence that you can’t help but feel in awe. Here you’ll find the precious K?hili (feather standards) of the Hawaiian Monarchy.
Of course, the girls favorite exhibit was the Richard T. Mamiya Science Adventure Center.
This huge exhibit is the perfect place for kids to get a little hands-on experience with sound & motion, lava flows, and wind power.
The kids were also able to walk through a lava tube filled with neon images, walk under a water tube, and slide down the side of a volcano.
Science on a Sphere provided us with a look at science, math, and geography in a way that’s easy to understand. In the middle of the room is a sphere that is 6 feet in diameter and shows an amazing look at planet Earth.
We didn’t get a chance to visit The Watumull Planetarium but it’s definitely on our list for our next visit. In fact, I think we’ll probably try to make it back when the museum is hosting the evening “The Sky Tonight” event where we’ll be able to learn more about the stars and constellations in the current sky.
Finally, The Bishop Museum is currently showcasing Sesame Street Presents: The Body where kids can learn about the human body and the way it works. There are tons of hands-on exhibits and familiar faces all housed in the world of Sesame Street. This exhibit runs from April 7 – July 30, 2012.
What a wonderful way to get the kids out of the house and expose them to some rich Hawaiian history.
Owner of An Island Life. A mother to 3 beautiful girls and flight attendant . . . living a blessed life in Hawaii.