Culture Kicks Up At Bishop Museum

Hands-on programs and masters series add to venue

By: Dawna Robertson

When it comes to culture, society craves authentic ways to experience the world from A to Z. Satisfying those into Hawaiiana, Bishop Museum has coordinated a complimentary program of interactive workshops taught by highly skilled Native Hawaiian artisans considered masters at their craft.

The new series promotes and preserves by educating on ancient and contemporary Hawaiian arts and customs. Held Monday through Saturday from 10:00 - 11:30am, workshops allow museum-goers to try their hand at Hawaiiana while experts lead the way.

According to Mike Shanahan, Bishop Museum’s director of education, the program creates hands-on activities to enhance guest experiences. “Visitors have the opportunity to learn how these arts and crafts are made from masters of each art,” Shanahan noted. “Many have been practicing the art for most of their lives and have learned from their family and/or another master.”

The appeal is broad based.

“Travelers of all ages will enjoy these interactive demonstrations,” said Shanahan. “Anyone who looks to learn more about why and how things take place will gain a greater ap-preciation of these arts by attending the demonstrations.”

Regularly scheduled events include: Monday - Fancy Ti-Leaf Lei Making; Tuesday - Kalae Pohaku; Wednesday - Ieie Weaving; Thursday - Lauhala Weaving; Friday - Hawaiian Quilting; and on alternate Saturdays - Lomilomi and Lauhala Weaving.

“Having these take place at the museum offers a unique experience, as guests will also have the opportunity to see the historical context of these crafts in the many different displays of precious artifacts at the museum,” Shanahan added.

No museum admission or advance reservations are re-quired. Participants can simply check in at the museum entrance for further direction.

Masters Series Spotlight

In the Museum’s Vestibule Gallery until July 9, visitors can catch more Hawaiian culture with “Ku I Ka Nio: Celebrating Six Master Artists.” Honoring the artwork of six visual artists who have been at the forefront of the Native Hawaiian arts movement, the series features Rocky Jen-sen, Imakalani Kalahele, Herb Kane, Mary Lou Kekuewa, Marie McDonald and Ipo Nihipali.

Each artist showcases three to five pieces bearing testament to their bodies of work as a groundbreaking Native Hawaiian visual artist.

Through May 21 in the Castle Memorial Building, Bishop Mu-seum is also hosting “Celebrating Chinese Women: Qing Dynasty to Modern Hawaii.” Displaying the ornate robes of the Imperial Empress and her court plus accouterments loaned from the prestigious Palace Museum of the Forbidden City in Beijing, this exhibit celebrates the contributions that Chinese women have made to Hawaii.

Other artifacts relating to the women of the Qing Dynasty will be on loan from the Chinese Costume Museum of Donghua University. Over 50 priceless artifacts from these two Chinese Museums are on display for the first time ever in the United States.

A treasured resource of Hawaiian history and heritage, the Bishop Museum was founded in 1889 by Charles Reed Bishop as a tribute to his wife Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, the last descendant of the royal Kamehameha dynasty.

Located at 1525 Bernice Street, the museum is open daily from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission is $14.95 for adults, $11.95 for youth 4-12 years and free for children under four.