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Mission House Museum preserves local heritage

by Ian Taitano, staff writer

The Mission Houses Museum offers people a chance to experience the cultural change that Hawai‘i underwent in the 19th century.

The Museum, on South King Street only about six blocks away from HPU, is a registered National Historic Landmark accredited by the American Association of Museums. It offers daily historic houses tours, downtown walking tours, lectures, classes, and workshops. The historic houses tour starts with the first and oldest existing frame house in Hawai‘i and includes the first printing office, which was the birthplace of the written Hawaiian language, and the Chamberlain House, home of the business agent for the first Mission to Hawai‘i, the residence of Levi Chamberlain and his family.

The walking tour gives visitors a chance to explore 19th century Honolulu. Starting with the frame house, the tour explores the historic capitol district with stops at buildings and monuments of special significance including 'Iolani Palace, Kawaiahao Church, the Territorial Building, and the Judiciary.

The tour teaches the layperson about the interactions that took place between native Hawaiians, missionaries, and other foreigners. The museum also presents lectures, classes, and workshops that give insight into historic 19th century Hawai‘i. These include all you need to know about the events that led to the annexation of Hawai‘i, the literacy competencies of Hawaiians in the mid-1800s, ‘Iolani Palace, the Judiciary History Center, and the Mission Houses Museum itself. Starting October 17, a prize-winning poet and painter, W.S. Merwin will be a featured guest lecturer.

Among Merwin’s many literary awards and prizes are the Fellowship of the Academy of American Poets, the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry, the Bollingen Prize in Poetry, and the Governor’s Award for Literature. For more information, call 531-0481.



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