New director named for Grove Farm Museum

  • Contributed

    Dr. R.D.K. “Doug” Herman starts Sept. 1 as fourth executive director of the Waioli Corporation.

LIHUE — Dr. R.D.K. “Doug” Herman has been appointed as the fourth executive director for the Waioli Corporation. He starts his duties Sept. 1.

Earlier in the year, the board of trustees appointed a five-member committee to conduct a search-and-interview process for the new director. Herman was selected from a nationwide pool of more than 40 applicants.

“We selected our new executive director at Waioli Corp. earlier in the summer, but had to withhold the announcement until he was able to properly notify his current employer,” said Sam Pratt, president of the board of trustees. “We are happy to have had such a field of qualified applicants.”

Herman was most recently the senior geographer at the National Museum of the American Indian, which is part of the Smithsonian Institution.

His work over the past 25 years has focused on Pacific indigenous cultures and, during his career, he developed a web-based, indigenous-geography project for Pacific Islands.

In 2014, Herman trained for the worldwide voyage of the Hawaiian voyaging canoe Hokule‘a, and went on to serve as crew during its Chesapeake Bay leg in May 2016.

“He has extensive knowledge of many people and places on Kauai, and in Hawaii,” said a press release.

Herman earned his master’s degree and doctorate in geography, both at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. His education includes a bachelor’s degree in comparative religion from Dartmouth College.

He replaces the late Robert “Bob” Schleck, who was director of the Grove Farm and Waioli Mission House museums for 20 years, and served twice as president of the Kauai Historical Society. Schleck died Oct. 15, 2018.

Waioli Corporation is a nonprofit membership organization formed in 1975 by Mabel Wilcox to oversee the management of six historic sites on Kauai.

It serves residents and visitors through tours of the Grove Farm Museum, Waioli Mission House and Mahamoku, three historic house museums, each of which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

It also preserves Lepeuli, an intact ahupua‘a, a 1943 locomotive roundhouse that houses the museum’s collection of original operating Kauai sugar plantation steam locomotives, and in another location, an interactive learning park where visitors and school children participate in routine locomotive “fire-ups” and educational tours. These properties comprise approximately 785 acres.


Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or


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