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by Courtney Cortez, staff writer

It is said that the history of Hawai‘i is written in the sea, and for those who are looking for an interactive way to learn about Hawai‘i’s history, the Hawai‘i Maritime Center does not disappoint.
Located at Honolulu Harbor at Pier 7 near Aloha Tower, the Hawai‘i Maritime Center features a full-size humpback whale skeleton, a whaling exhibit, the King David Kalakaua Boathouse, and a Polynesian Navigation exhibit.
Lei Iwi, meaning lei of cherished bones in Hawaiian, is the center’s humpback whale skeleton. The skeleton is not only a wonder to see because of its massive size, 40-50 feet in length, but also because it is one of only five skeletons on display in the world.
Standing under Lei Iwi puts into perspective exactly how difficult it must have been for the Hawaiians during the whaling era, the sheer size and power of these animals being enough to endanger dozens of men.
Kohala Lele, meaning leaping whale in Hawaiian, is the center’s whaling exhibit. This interactive exhibit features video, pictures, audio, and props that show the relationship between Hawaiians and whales dating from the 19th century to today. The center also serves as a memorial to the Hawaiians who lost their lives whaling on the open sea.
The King Kalakaua Boathouse provides historical accounts of famous explorers like Captain Cook. The exhibit also shows the impact of trade in Hawai‘i, Hawai‘i’s monarchy, water sports, and the evolution of Honolulu Harbor are all featured in a hands-on-way that entertains, as well as educates, both adults and children.
Finally, Polynesian navigation is explored with a double-hulled canoe, a virtual game, and numerous paintings. The Polynesian Navigation exhibit brings to life the rich Polynesian history of the Hawaiian Islands.
Admission to the Hawai‘i Maritime Center is $8.50 for adults and $5.50 for children ages 4-12. The center is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

 

 

 
 

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