The Newly Renovated Pacific Hall Will Be the Most Unique Display of Pacific Ancestral Cultures in the World

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This Capstone Completes the Hawaiian Hall Complex Moving Bishop Museum into the 21st Century

The crowd anticipates the opening of Bishop Museum's Pacific Hall

"Visitors will be surprised to see how traditions have been upheld over thousands of years, and the many similarities we see between our Hawaiian culture and language and those of other Oceanic cultures.”

Bishop Museum celebrated the grand unveiling of Pacific Hall on Saturday, Sept. 21. More than 6,000 people attended the festivities, which included everything Pacific from the food, fashion and films, to lectures, music and poetry. There was Tongan storytelling, a collaborative dance performance featuring Māori choreographer Jack Gray, a film presentation of “There Once was an Island (Taku‘u), Pacifika poetry readings, and more. Hundreds of children participated in the day’s activities including nearly 60 students from Farrington High School’s Island Harmony and the Samoan Language Group.

“We have been waiting a long time to finally offer our visitors the full Bishop Museum experience that our founders, Charles Reed and Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop envisioned,” said Blair Collis, president and CEO. “I’d like to extend a warm mahalo to our museum staff and volunteers for working tirelessly to complete the Pacific Hall renovation as well as our other renovation projects over the years.”

The reopening of Pacific Hall also marked the milestone of all exhibition halls being fully open to museum goers after nine years of renovation projects. In 2009, Hawaiian Hall celebrated its reopening after 5 years of renovation; and most recently, the museum’s Jhamandas Watumull Planetarium finished a major upgrade of its technology and interior furnishings in 2012.

“The Pacific Hall exhibit provides an updated perspective on the story of Pacific migration through new ground-breaking data that revise the timeline of Pacific settlement,” said Noelle Kahanu, director of community relations. “Using the latest technology available, the hall features sounds of the past and present, as well as images of people across the Pacific. Visitors will be surprised to see how traditions have been upheld over thousands of years, and the many similarities we see between our Hawaiian culture and language and those of other Oceanic cultures.”

On the first floor, individual cases explore subjects of daily living, subsistence, ritual practices, and ocean navigation. The second floor focuses on the history of the region and communicates how the disciplines of archaeology, anthropology, and linguistics have been used to provide concrete evidence of ancestral ties across the Pacific. The second floor explores questions about how and when the settlement of the Pacific took place.

The renovation of Pacific Hall took three years from beginning to completion. Bishop Museum’s exhibit and design teams worked closely with the highly respected international museum design firm Ralph Appelbaum and Associates on Pacific Hall’s renovation. Architectural work was done locally by Glenn Mason Architects. Both firms were also contracted for the Hawaiian Hall renovation project.

For photos of the event, click here.

About Pacific Hall
Pacific Hall at Bishop Museum, formerly Polynesian Hall, has undergone a multi-million dollar renovation and restoration. The hall explores the origins and cultures of Pacific Islanders and the migrations over the “blue continent” or Pacific Ocean over a 40,000-year period. The name change of the hall reflects the exhibit’s broader story that extends beyond Polynesia to reveal the historical connections among the people of the Pacific Islands in the areas of culture, daily life, and language. Some of the key artifacts on display were gathered over the last century from Tahiti, Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, the Cook Islands, the Marquesas, Taiwan and China, and include a both ancient and modern pieces.

About Bishop Museum
The Bishop Museum was founded in 1889 by Charles Reed Bishop in memory of his wife Bernice Pauahi Bishop, the last direct descendant of King Kamehameha I. Today, the museum is recognized as the principal museum of the Pacific, housing the world’s largest collection of Hawaiian and Pacific artifacts and natural history specimens. More than 400,000 people visit the museum each year, including over 40,000 schoolchildren. For more information, please call 808.847.3511 or visit Connect with Bishop Museum on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram @bishopmuseum.

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Brooke Wilson
Bishop Museum
+1 (808) 371-0088
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Andrea P. Oka
Stryker Weiner & Yokota Public Relations
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