The Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum
Backstory and Context
The museum was named in honor of Bernice Pauahi Bishop by her husband Charles Reed Bishop, who opened the museum dedicated to her and her family's history in 1889. Bernice was the last born descendant of the Kamehamaha royal family. Growing up, Bernice attended special school for rich and royal families in Hawaii and developed a deep interest and respect for education, not just for well-off families, but for anyone who wished to learn. In her later years, Bernice began to see a decline in the economy of Hawaii and a gradual decline of the well-being of the native people who lived there. Bernice recognized that the path to a better life for her people was through education, and she believed that if Hawaiians were better educated then everyone could rise to their true potential and others would see how truly amazing their culture and people are. Before Bernice passed away in 1883, she wrote a will that appointed five trustees including her husband. With his support, the appointee sold her possessions and land in order to create the Kamehameha educational institutions. The money from the estate paid for teachers' salaries and the maintenance of the schools. These schools still exist today, and have been helping Hawaiian children all rise to their potential for many years.
While this museum has many artifacts that were heirlooms of the royal Kamehamaha family, over the years it has grown to become the main cultural educational center for anyone who wishes to learn about the natives of Hawaii, including their history and culture, and the natural environment of the island.
The Bishop Museum is the largest in the state of Hawaii and has over 24 million objects in its collections, including photos, artifacts, documents, stories, artwork, video clips, and personal memorabilia. The goal of the museum is to teach residents and guests about the native Hawaiian peoples and to make them understand culture and environment of the island better. Each of the floors of this museum represent different aspects of Hawaiian life. On the first floor, visitors will see different legends, origin stories, and oral histories through artwork and videos. The second floor focuses on the day-to-day lives of Hawaiians and is devoted to teaching guests about the natural environment of Hawaii the people and culture of the island state. On the top floor, visitors can expect to learn about important moments in Hawaiian history and about Bernice and other important historical figures from Hawaii.
The Bishop Museum also has a science center where visitors can expect to see a man-made replica of the volcano Kilauea, as well as different volcanic rocks and demonstrations about the creation of the Hawaiian islands through volcanic eruptions. The science center, as well as the entire museum itself, opens it's doors to people in order to help visitors to understand just how important Hawaii is and why it is important to preserve the island, respect and understand the natives, and more importantly to learn about their diverse and historic cultures.
Seto, Colleen. 2006. Bishop museum tells story of hawaii: Final edition. Prince George Citizen2006. Seto, Robert Mahealani M., and Lynne Marie Kohm. 1999. Of princesses, charities, trustees, and fairytales: A lesson of the simple wishes of princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop. The University of Hawaii Law Review 21 (2): 393. King, Lisa. 2014. "COMPETITION, COMPLICITY, AND (POTENTIAL) ALLIANCE: NATIVE HAWAIIAN AND ASIAN IMMIGRANT NARRATIVES AT THE BISHOP MUSEUM." College Literature 41, no. 1: 43-65. Academic Search Alumni Edition, EBSCOhost (accessed November 3, 2015). http://www.bishopmuseum.org/index.html