In Partnership with the Southern Weekend

Experience cultural treasures of Rapa Nui at Bishop Museum

Rapa Nui: The Untold Stories of Easter Island Exhibit

You are invited to delve into the wonders of Rapa Nui, or Easter Island, on exhibit now at the Bishop Museum. Rapa Nui: The Untold Stories of Easter Island explores the cultural, scientific and artistic contributions of Rapa Nui. Director of Cultural Resources at Bishop Museum and Curator of the exhibit, Dr. Mara Mulrooney, shares with HI Now viewers how the exhibit showcases the museum’s extensive cultural and natural science collections from the remote island.

Rapa Nui: The Untold Stories of Easter Island draws from recent studies conducted by Bishop Museum researchers and collaborators to highlight some lesser-known stories about the island. More than 150 cultural treasures and never-before-seen biological specimens from the museum’s collections are on display together for the first time in the museum’s history. The exhibit is joined by a complementary exhibit Ka U’i: Contemporary Art from Rapa Nui, curated by Macarena Oñate and featuring works by eight Rapa Nui-based artists who explore Rapanui identity, politics, the environment, and ancient art forms through contemporary media including sculpture, photography and painting.

The exhibit displays more than 150 cultural treasures and never-before-seen biological specimens from the museum’s collections that are on display together for the first time in the museum’s history.  At the center of this original exhibit is an immersive rock garden that shows how previous generations of Rapa Nui people transformed their island home by employing an innovative and sustainable approach to agriculture. Visitors can walk across the immersive “garden” to learn how the practice of building these unique gardens supported the construction of around 1,000 large moai statues. Beyond the garden is a full-size 3-D model of the moai Hoa Hakananai’a. This moai, which is in the British Museum’s collections, stands nearly eight feet tall. Intricate carved petroglyphs on his back include fertility symbols associated with the taŋata manu (birdman) competition that took place each spring on Rapa Nui until the 1860s.

About Bishop Museum

Bishop Museum was founded in 1889 by Charles Reed Bishop in honor of his late wife, Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, the last descendant of the royal Kamehameha family. The Museum was established to house the extensive collection of Hawaiian objects and royal family heirlooms of the Princess, and has expanded to include millions of objects, documents and photographs about Hawai’i and other Pacific island cultures. Mr. Bishop built the magnificent Polynesian and Hawaiian Halls on the grounds of the original Kamehameha Schools for Boys. The Museum and School shared the Kapālama campus until 1940 when a new larger school complex was opened nearby on Kapālama Heights. Today, Bishop Museum is the largest museum in the state and the premier natural and cultural history institution in the Pacific, recognized throughout the world for its cultural collections, research projects, consulting services and public educational programs. It also has one of the largest natural history specimen collections in the world. Serving and representing the interests of Native Hawaiians is a primary purpose of the Museum.

For more Information: bishopmuseum.org