Bishop Museum (Honolulu, HI)

Since the strong winds continued to blow this morning, we decided to go back to the Bishop Museum, after finding out too late yesterday that it was closed.

Bishop is considered the finest museum of Hawaiian arts, culture, history and anthropology in the world. The Hawaiian Hall itself is worthy of a visit all by itself. But, there is also a stunning science center that explains the geology of the islands and other buildings that specialize in various aspects of Hawaiiana. The Sports Hall of Fame showcases Hawaii’s top athletes. The Kahili Room displays the Hawaiian royal staffs (called kahili) in all their feathery splendor, the finest collection anywhere.

There are frequent tours and demonstrations throughout the day. Volunteer docents explained to us about Hawaiian mythology and about the royal line. One extravagant artifact is the cloak worn by Kamehameha I made from the yellow feathers of 80,000 mamo birds, now sadly extinct. There was also an entertaining overview of lava, including the artificial creation of some in a fiery furnace right before our eyes. One display (Polynesian Hall) traces the three major groups of Polynesia.

The Hawaiian Hall is an impressive, three-story structure, open in the middle, that displays wonderful artifacts. Suspended from the ceiling is a life-sized model of a whale and an outrigger.

You can easily spend two days here if you’re so inclined.

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