Kaua‘i Museum reopens with modified schedule

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Kaua‘i Museum staff Ku‘ulani Keaweamahi, Mahina McGarry and Michiru Umezu listen to information about the Sloggett cape, right, in the Lihu‘e facility’s main exhibition area.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Social-distancing guidelines are in place at the panoramic, plantation-era display at the Kaua‘i Museum in Lihu‘e.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Kaua‘i Museum staff Michiru Umezu, left, and Mahina McGarry remove protective sheets from artwork in the Natural History walkway exhibit at the Lihu‘e facility.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Kaua‘i Museum staff member Ku‘ulani Keaweamahi has on a black Kaua‘i Museum face mask available in four colors at the museum’s gift shop in Lihu‘e.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    From left, the Kaua‘i Museum’s Lyah Kama-Drake, Michiru Umezu, Mahina McGarry, Executive Director Chucky Boy Chock and Ku‘ulani Keaweamahi frame the Sloggett cape in the main exhibition area of the Lihu‘e facility.

The menehune have been very busy during the closure of the Kaua‘i Museum due to the arrival of the COVID-19 in Hawai‘i, said Lyah Kama-Drake Tuesday during a briefing ahead of the museum’s reopening.

Doors to the Kaua‘i Museum gift shop open from 9:30 a.m. and remain open until 2:30 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday under the temporary new hours and dates.

The rest of the museum is available through reservations-only tours created by the museum’s staff during the closure.

Kama-Drake said that, during the museum’s closure, staff and volunteers worked on getting out a lot of the items that were in storage, redoing almost all of the displays and starting work on a new exhibition area.

“During the heavy rains and flooding, one of the areas affected was the World War II area,” Kama-Drake said. “Chucky and the volunteers moved all of the pieces out, cleaned the floors, repainted it, and put everything back, including some pieces they found in storage.”

This same effort applied to other historic display areas, including the plantation life, surfing, paniolo exhibits and others.

“We have the Sloggett cape in a more prominent” location, museum Executive Director Chucky Boy Chock said. “This is Kaua‘i’s cape. Queen Emma’s husband gifted the cape to the Sloggett family and, eventually, it found its way to the museum.”

Face masks and social distancing apply to visitors, and tour groups are limited to smaller groups and established by the incoming reservations.

“The girls have been working really hard developing this tour that takes you to all the major display areas,” Kama-Drake said.

“A lot of the areas that are now included are the paniolo section, where a lot of the stored items are now grouped together for a better saga. The plantation era is broken down into a more-personal approach, where one setting resembles the home’s bedroom. There are so many things that came out of storage and is now available for people to enjoy.”

Another area is the Russian exhibit.

“Did you know we have Russians on Kaua‘i?” Kama-Drake said. “We had some pressure from the group that lives here. The exhibit covers the history of Pa‘ula‘ula, or more commonly known as Fort Elizabeth or the Russian Fort.”

This is the subject of an upcoming webinar scheduled through the collaboration of the Friends of King Kaumuali‘i and the Hawai‘i Historic Foundation on Thursday, Sept. 10, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.

Museum appointments can be scheduled by calling 245-6931, or at the museum’s website at kauaimuseum.org. Tour times are from 9 to 11 a.m., and noon to 2 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. The museum is closed on Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday until further notice.

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Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.

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