Bishop Museum – Honolulu

2023 Vancouver-Hawai’i Cruise

Oct 17, 2023 – Day 1 in Honolulu – Bishop Museum

After having breakfast in the Main Dining Room aboard the ship, I take a taxi to the Bishop Museum. I saw this museum back in the 1980s, so it is time to see this repository of Hawaiian natural and cultural history again. There are some exquisite artifacts and artwork, but it is mostly the same as before.

Pacific Hall features Polynesian culture as it is found across huge regions of the Pacific Ocean. I’m pleased to see the Lapita People are featured as the origins of more recent oceanic people. The Lapitas migrated across the South Pacific from Taiwan and East Asia during the Neolithic era (1600 to 500 BCE). All the resulting Melanesian, Micronesian and Polynesian cultures from this migration are featured in displays in this hall, as well as ocean-going sailing canoes.

Hawaiian Hall is a beautiful 3-level exhibit hall with big models in the centre and display cases on the side walls. See banner image above.

A big Tlingit House Post (totem pole) stands in the foyer between the two main exhibit halls, which I thought was a bit odd until I read the inscription: “This Tlingit House Post is a gift from the Sealaska Corp to the Polynesian Voyaging Society and the Hawaiian people to commemorate the strong ties of friendship generated by the Hawai’iloa voyaging canoe and her crew.”

There is also a Picture Gallery between the two main exhibit halls, which features paintings, photos and household artifacts from the Hawaiian royalty. They also have a good collection of stereograms and a couple of working viewers, which brings back memories to me of using a View-Master to look at stereoscopic images of cartoon characters and scenery during my childhood

I take a quick wander through the Science Adventure Center, which is mainly setup for kids with lasers, flashing lights, and interactive displays. There is a cleverly designed Make A Telescope display, which appeals to me as an amateur astronomer. The optics are configurable, so when played with, the effect of moving optic elements or using different ones becomes apparent.

After a couple of hours, I’m ready to return to the ship, so call another taxi. The museum is quite a distance from downtown, costing about US$25 each way. As always, it’s great to return to the ship. I have some lunch and relax for the afternoon.

I go to the 6PM show of Drums of Polynesia: Featuring Kauvaka a performance of a local entertainment troupe that looked promising, however I end up walking out after 10 minutes since the talent is amateurish, and not even close to portraying authentic Polynesian or Hawaiian culture.

I give my two room stewards envelopes with US$ as an early tip this evening, so if they get some time off tomorrow, perhaps they can do some shopping in Honolulu.

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