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It’s a project that cost $8.5 million. In just days, the public will get a first look at Pacific Hall at Bishop Museum, which took years to renovate.
One of the first things you’ll notice when you walk into the hall is a vast map of the Pacific Ocean.
“One thing that really strikes you is how vast that ocean is. And you ask yourself, ‘How did they make it? How did they get out there and actually find these tiny, tiny specks?'” said Elizabeth Tartar, Bishop Museum.
It’s a map that has Hawaii right smack in the middle.
“So being able to use that as our piko, our center point, to tell the stories of Pacific peoples and their relationships to Native Hawaiians,” Bishop Museum CEO Blair Collis said.
Many exhibits are hands-on, like the replica tools found throughout the Pacific.
“Mostly for cutting down trees, but also for carving, for a variety of functions,” anthropologist Dr. Mara Mulrooney said.
“To be able to share our research in a forum which combines very important artifacts that are on display, with really good interactive displays so that people can get a hands-on look at what we actually do,” Dr. Mulrooney said.
Bishop Museum is planning a huge grand opening for the hall. It’s Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Crafters and artisans from across the Pacific will be joined by musicians as well.
“All these elements that make you really feel that you’re in the Pacific. And yet also grounds you in Hawaii, and why we live here, and why this exhibit belongs here at Bishop Museum,” said Noelle Kahanu, Bishop Museum.