Artifact Walls - Creating Hawai’i


About the artifact walls
Artifact walls, consisting of 275 linear feet of glass-fronted cases lining the first and second floor center core, highlight the depth and breadth of the collections and convey that the Museum collects, studies and exhibits objects from our nation's rich and diverse history. The display is part of the special cases within the museum’s Artifact Walls that highlight anniversaries, new acquisitions to the collections and research findings.
About this case

This display is not merely a history of the Islands, it is also an opportunity to examine the concept of “perception vs. reality” with Hawai’i as a point of interest. The showcase begins with a common, stereotypical look at the Hawaiian Islands with objects that represent the world’s perception of Hawai’i as a tropical paradise, a stretch of beach and a carefree state-of-mind. However, visitors are encouraged to look beyond the leis and discover a land of great history and a diverse and inclusive population. Hawai’i, a collection of islands, is located in the center of the Pacific Ocean, more than 2,300 miles southwest of the mainland United States. The islands were “discovered” in 1778 by British explorer James Cook. The rapid influx of traders, merchants, missionaries and immigrant workers that followed brought an overwhelming Western influence to the Hawaiian Islands, causing a transition from subsistence farming to a cash economy and an unfortunate loss of tradition. The ever-growing presence of outsiders affected native Hawaiians acclimation to change and a different lifestyle. In 1893 US businessmen led an overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawai’i and established a Republic. Despite protests and the opposition of many Hawaiians, the Islands were annexed as a territory by the United States in 1898. The opening of this display is designed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Hawai’i becoming the 50th state in the union on Aug. 21, 1959. From kingdom to republic, and from territory to state, “Creating Hawai’i” showcases the reality of Hawai’i and the extensive changes in tradition and diversity throughout its history.

The case features a new sound element that allows visitors to discover more about Hawai’i with the use of their cell phones.

The case features:
  • professional surfer Rochelle Ballard’s surfboard
  • a Hawai’ian flag from the throne room of Queen Lili’uokalani
  • a sugarcane-cutter’s hat and a whaler’s harpoon
  • the diary of an 1850s missionary to Hawai’i, and 
  • objects commonly associated with Hawai’i, including Hawaiian shirts and hula costumes.


"Blue Hawaii" 

"Maui Hawaiian Suppa Man" 

Protest Song 
No one will fix a signature to the paper of the enemy,
With its sin of annexation and sale of native civil rights.
We back Lili'ulani
Who has won the rights of the land. 

Traditional Hula Song 

Pu Horn 

Hole Hole Bushi Song