New exhibit records over 180 years of shipwrecks

LIHU’E – A new exhibit at Kaua’i Museum tells the history of shipwrecks around

Kaua’i and its sister island, Ni’ihau.

Sixty-eight sinkings in the past 185

years are recounted. The grim chronology begins in 1815, when a

Russian-American ship loaded with furs went under, and ends with an April 1996

incident involving a 95-foot fishing boat near Waipoli.

Among the stories

is that of the Andrea F. Luckenbush. In 1951, the freighter ran aground and

broke up off Wailua Beach, ending the voyage for its cargo of liquor, sardines

and other sundries.

Divers still visit the Luckenbush and other relics that

for most of the past 200 years have fallen prey to weather and human error.

The exhibit, in the museum’s Senda Gallery, was researched and organized

by Erica Nordmeier, 22, a University of Nebraska graduate student who is

serving a student internship.

Nordmeier spent 480 hours learning about

Kaua’i’s shipwrecks through books and old newspaper articles, selecting

photographs of wrecks from the museum’s archives and writing narratives about

them.

It was a lot of work, but “cool. I find them fascinating,” she

said.

Nordmeier, who plans a career in museum work – hopefully, she said,

in Hawai’i – tried to make the shipwreck exhibit “interactive. That’s what

makes history interesting.”

The exhibit will continue through

December.

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