Arranged by Chairman of the Board of Trustees Violet S.W. Loo and trustee Patricia Lee, the museum recently hosted a special tour of the seminal exhibition Ho‘oulu Hawai‘i: The King Kalākaua Era for various key figures of Honolulu.
Led by curator Healoha Johnston, the tour included Mayor Kirk Caldwell; his wife and trustee Donna Tanoue; First Lady of Hawai‘i Dawn Amano-Ige; curator for Washington Place, Cynthia Engle; special assistant to the governor, Ashley Dorman; Consul General of Japan Koichi Ito; his wife Misako Ito; President of the Shufu Society of Hawaii, Keiko Arikawa and HoMA deputy director Allison Wong.
As Johnston led the group through the exhibition, people were in awe over the innovative advancement that occurred under Kalākaua’s reign, such as photography and the telephone.
Caldwell stopped at the Nawahi painting, called Hilo from Coconut Island, to mention his familiarity with this artwork. According to him, there are only three remaining by this artist. Johnston could account for two and the third is most likely owned by a private collector on the East Coast.
Another highlight of the tour was the massive ‘ahu ‘ula made for Queen Kapi‘olani. This featherwork cape is made of pheasant and fowl feathers collected from Kalākaua’s travels. It features frog-style clasps and a velvet neckline that exhibits Hawai‘i’s unique take on Victorian-era style.
Dawn Ige, Misako Ito and Keiko Arakawa nodded in unison when learning about the ingenuity of the pā‘ū riders, or women who modified the pā‘ū into a pant-like garment to protect their dress when riding astride a horse.
The group also enjoyed the kapa moe, and remarked how innovative it was to have multiple layers of kapa to keep warm with and then just remove to cool down.
The museum is grateful to show these key folks such a milestone exhibition, and we hope others will come by to enjoy it too!