Bishop Museum: Culture, Science, and Spirit
Enjoyed the ASTC reception last night at the Bishop Museum — and how could I not? A Hawaiian luau, with food (including the mysterious poi, top notch live music both traditional and contemporary, and a few strong mai tais). But what struck me from a museum perspective is how well the institution as a whole integrates the disparate domains of culture, science, and spirit.
The historic building houses the more cultural exhibits (including Hawaiian Hall), and the new Science Adventure Center is a separate building focusing on the natural wonders of Hawaii. But themes mingle between the two buildings.
I was struck by the Hawaiian Origins Tunnel in the Science Adventure Center. Visitors walk through a dark tunnel with brightly lit images that are key to traditional understandings of Hawaii's origins. It struck me that it would be very hard to do this in the continental U.S., where issues of science, culture, and spirit are much more polarized. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that the natural wonders of Hawaii are so abundant, and provide a base of understanding that speaks beyond ideologies. (Note the quote from the scientist and cultural advisor, if you can read it in my blurry photo).