The vital role of women in Maui’s history will be commemorated by five Maui museums this March, Women’s History Month. The museums will honor the importance of women in Maui’s history in the first of four quarterly collaborative exhibitions under the banner Celebrate Maui Museums. Maui’s small, unique museums in Wailuku, Lahaina, Makawao, and Pu’unene are presenting local stories and exhibits to celebrate the museums and honor our local history with help from a grant from the county’s Office of Economic Development.
The Alexander & Baldwin Sugar Museum in Pu’unene’s exhibit, Women in Hawaii’s Sugar Plantations, will explore the role of the woman in Hawai‘i’s sugar history through objects, photos, and personal stories.
Lahaina’s Baldwin Home Museum will feature a tour overlay that focuses on the role of Kealoha, a beloved teacher, children’s nurse, caretaker, and companion within Baldwin’s family and home, in an exhibit titled Kealoha: A Life of Earnest Devotion.
In its exhibit, Honoring Three Upcountry Women, the Makawao History Museum will present vignettes about the lives of three Upcountry women: Ethel Baldwin, leader of the local women’s suffrage movement; Patsy Mink, the first woman of color elected to the US Congress; and Gordean Bailey, Miss Hawai‘i 1959 and a kumu hula today.
The exhibit at the Wo Hing Museum and Cookhouse – Gertrude Vierra: Preserving Wo Hing – will celebrate the pivotal role Gertrude Vierra played in saving and restoring the Wo Hing Society buildings on Front Street in Lahaina.
Hale Ho’ike’ike at Bailey House Museum will present Hawaiian Women’s Fashion: Kapa, Cotton, and Silk, an exhibit on the fashion of Hawaiian women. This exhibit is being held in conjunction with the launch of the book by the same name by Agnes Terao-Guiala, which will be available for purchase at the museum.
All exhibits are included in the regular admission fees for each museum. Hours and days of operation vary between museums and can be found on Facebook @CelebrateMauiMuseums.
The Maui Museum Group (including Alexander & Baldwin Sugar Museum, Lahaina Restoration Foundation, Makawao History Museum, and Maui Historical Society) has launched the Celebrate Maui Museums initiative to highlight the wonderful and unique diversity and history of Maui County. In 2020, Celebrate Maui Museums will feature a series of exhibitions themed to four national celebrations and hosted by museums from across the island.