Bishop Museum's Pacific Hall to be unveiled

Published On: Sep 19 2013 06:23:45 PM HST   Updated On: Sep 19 2013 08:00:24 PM HST

The Bishop Museum's Pacific Hall will reopen Saturday, following a three-year, multimillion-dollar facelift.

"It's an incredible building," said Blair Collis, the museum's president and CEO. "It actually predates the Hawaiian Hall gallery. It's older than the invention of the automobile."

The Pacific Hall was built in 1894 and originally named the Polynesian Hall. Collins said in order to tell the whole story of Hawaii, you need to know about all Pacific cultures, not just Polynesian.

"This gallery is rededicated to telling the stories of the ancestrial cultures to native Hawaiians and their relationship to each other through migration over centuries," Collis said.

"Other than a stunningly new gallery space that really reveals the beauty of its original state, it is a completely new story being told, reinterpreted through native Pacific peoples' eyes and creating an opportunity for people to understand those relationships through language, navigation and aspects of culture."

Some of the features of the Pacific Hall following its renovation and restoration include  42 display cases, a wooden floor map of the region, a refurbished Fijian canoe, new media displays, interactive kiosks and seven contemporary art pieces.

"We want to make sure that people understand that these cultures are vibrant and ongoing and changing and look at themselves and their history and where they're going, more importantly, for the future," Collis said. "So you'll see new pieces as well as our greatest treasures."

Pacific Hall's reopening completes a 13-year renovation of the Hawaiian Hall Complex, which is the museum's iconic building.

Exhibit and design teams worked closely with Ralph Appelbaum and Associates, an international museum design firm that's behind displays at places like the Holocaust Museum in Washington and the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

"The museum is really one of the greatest museums in the world," said Melanie Ide, a museum designer with Ralph Appelbaum and Associates. "I mean it's top, top notch and it just needs to come out and so I think plans for keeping the momentum going and seeing the transformation of the campus over the course of the next few several years is going to be very exciting, I think, for the people of Hawaii and all people who are visiting."

The Bishop Museum's Grand Unveiling of Pacific Hall is Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and features food, art, music and all things Pacific. Admission is free.


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