Reports on the 3rd Joint ARLIS/NA + VRA (The Art Libraries Society of North America and the Visual Resources Association) Conference 2016


Seattle downtown resembles Kakaako: development happening everywhere.

In the gray and rainy city of Seattle early spring, the Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS/NA) and the Visual Resources Association (VRA) held the 3rd joint conference from March 8th to 12th, 2016. It was the 44th Annual Conference of ARLIS/NA, and the 34th Annual Conference of VRA. The conference drew about 800 attendees from all over the world, including art librarians, visual resources curators, reference and instruction librarians, cataloging and metadata librarians, archivists, museum librarians and curators, publishers, students, and so on. The conference theme was Natural Connections.

Three librarians from Hawaii: Carol Hasegawa of the Honolulu Community College Library, Sachi Kawaiaea of the Honolulu Museum of Art Library, and Kanako Iwase of the UH Manoa Department of Art and Art History attended the conference. We thought it would be nice to share our experiences with the AHA members. We hope you will enjoy our post-conference reports.


Space Needle from the Olympic Sculpture Park on the only morning we saw blue sky.

Getting Connected: Visual Resources Thriving with New Technologies Kanako Iwase, Department of Art and Art History, University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa (VRA member)

For those of you who have attended an ALA conference or other national conferences, mingling with 800 people might not sound unusual, but as a first-time attendee to a national conference, it was rather overwhelming. Nevertheless, the conference sessions, workshops and tours were extremely informative and inspirational—overall, a wonderful experience for me. In my report, I try to make links to the original resources as many as possible, so if you are interested in the latest trends in visual resources or art libraries, you can check out what was presented and discussed at the conference.

My first day started with some pleasant conversations with a couple of librarians over breakfast at the pre-conference THATcamp (The Humanities and Technology Camp). During THATcamp, where spontaneous conversations and taking initiatives are encouraged, I was able to propose a session titled “Visual Literacy and Digital Humanities”, and later became the moderator for the session. After familiarizing ourselves with the ACRL Visual Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education, we had some great brainstorming and discussions. Some people shared examples of visual literacy projects they conduct at their institutions, and demonstrated tools they use, such as SharedShelf and Omeka. We also discussed the importance of collaboration with faculty to improve visual literacy of students at academic institutions. The session notes are available here.

26833272325_445c6e5c53_kTHATcamp ecourages collaboration and participation (photo: Flickr)

Prior to the conference, I had two particular topics in mind about which I wished to learn: new technology in metadata such as Linked Data and tools for data migration; and how Visual Literacy is integrated with Digital Humanities technology in various institutions. THATcamp helped me deepen my knowledge about the latter topic.

Through other workshops about Linked Open Data and RDF,  as well as some posters at the Poster Session, I came back with a better understanding of these concepts. I am now excited about the new technology, which enables embedding complex relationships that artwork and digital images would have, such as “how” “where” “what” “belong to” or “used as”. It can still get too technical for me at times, but at least it was a good first step that I took to understand the Semantic Web in the context of visual resources.

The Convocation speaker was Sarah Bergmann, Director of the Pollinator Pathway. She gave an inspirational talk about her projects that respond to global transformation of natural landscape and cityscape. It was thought-provoking for many of us who are constantly thinking about pathways to connect our collections across disciplines, to users and the public.

On the last day of the conference, I joined the “Chinatown/International District, Wing Luke Museum, and Locke Library Tour.” I was impressed to see a museum and its library actively reaching out the community and connecting to the people in the neighborhood. Our knowledgeable tour guides recounted the colorful history of the well-preserved, authentic buildings where immigrants once lived. Seeing the museum exhibits, I learned about the unique and diverse qualities of Seattle’s Chinatown and the people who helped each other to survive. I highly recommend visiting the museum if you are in Seattle. A bonus was blooming cherry blossoms in a nearby park on a hill overlooking the city. (Photos from the conference can be viewed on Flickr).


Some of the sessions were recorded and are available at ARLIS/NA Learning Portal:

Some of the session notes from THATcamp are also available in Google Drive.


Seattle Public Library’s archive collection tour was conducted by Bridget Nowlin

Short essay: ARLIS/NA Seattle Conference 2016 Sachi Kawaiaea, Honolulu Museum of Art Library (ARLIS/NA member)

Emerald City, Rain City, Jet City (Boeing), Coffee City…  Seattle has many nicknames but what I often heard during my stay were – Microsoft, Amazon, and COSTCO.  In any case the city is changing and developing (by those companies),  yet beautiful and the perfect site for art librarians and museum professionals to get together and discuss for our future.

My 5-day ARLIS/NA conference summary: #sessions #committeemeetings #sharinginformation #enjoyartisanalespresso #exchangebusinesscards #runtothenextroom #museumtours #askingquestions #morecoffee #socialoccasionsintotheevening #cherrybloosm #mostbeautifullibrary #inspired.



Museum Division meeting, Getty Research Portal presentation, Solo Art Info Professional SIG were the three notable sessions at the conference site. Off-site tours were quickly filled by the participants and I was lucky to get in three of the exciting events. Needless to say, the off-site visits expanded my knowledge and my network deeply– and became the highlights of the 5-day conference indeed.

Since I became the museum librarian at Honolulu Museum of Art (then Honolulu Academy of Arts) four years ago participating in the national conference was one of the top priorities among my goals. I greatly enjoyed meeting, seeing, listening, talking, and eating in Seattle. It was only me from Hawaii as ARLIS/NA member! Because of the joint conference I could see familiar faces (Kanako and Carol), that was a bonus as the first-time conference attendee. I brought home an enormous amount of information and contacts.  I am working on how I can make good use of it and benefit the HoMA and myself professionally and personally. I already look forward to the next one and reunite new friends in February 2017. Anyone would like to join me?  #ArtsduMonde@neworlens.


Register now for free Digital POWRR Workshops

Register now for free Digital POWRR Workshops

The Association of Hawaiʻi Archivists is hosting two free Preserving (Digital) Objects With Restricted Resources workshops led by the Digital POWRR Project.

Oʻahu: November 15, UH Mānoa, Hamilton Library, Room 306, 9am-4pm

Hawaiʻi Island: November 18, Kailua-Kona, HI, UH Palamanui, Room A102, 9am-4pm

Register here for Oʻahu:…
Register here for Kona:…

Travel Scholarships Available: To help support travel for workshop participants from neighbor islands, the POWRR project will provide scholarships for up to $300 each for nine awardees to attend. Please apply here:
Deadline: Oct. 15.

Questions?: Contact Eleanor Kleiber (, Joy Holland ( or Annie Thomas (


Honolulu Fire Museum Tour

On June 18th, AHA members visited the Honolulu Fire Museum and were given an excellent tour of the facilities while learning more about the history of firefighting in Hawaiʻi by Captain Kevin Mokulehua and his staff. The museum is located at the former site of the historic Kakaʻako Fire Station, built in 1929, and is next door to the Honolulu Fire Dept.’s new headquarters building, which was completed in 2006. The Honolulu Fire Dept. was established in 1850 by King Kamehameha III, and King Kalākaua was an active member of Hawaiian Engine Company No. 4, an all-Hawaiian fire company formed in 1861. The museum does have a small archives, but it was not ready for us to view. Nevertheless, we did see some great photographs and documents from the Fire Dept. that were on display in the museum. Check out some highlights below:


Engine Company No. 4 was originally an all-Hawaiian Company fire station. This image on display at the fire museum depicts the station draped in black bunting after the passing of King Kalākaua in 1891.


HFD Accounting Book, 1892-1893




HFD log book, opened to the infamous date of Dec. 7, 1941. To this day, in keeping with tradition, each station of the Honolulu Fire Dept. keeps a daily hand-written log.


Capt. Mokulehua describing the Gamewell fire alarm system used by the Honolulu Fire Dept. from 1903-1979. Pull boxes placed in each neighborhood were connected to all fire stations and used to contact the fire dept. via an alarm gong that would identify the location of the box.


This photo shows the card catalog system the fire dept. used to determine which station would be dispatched to the fire, depending on its location.


Mahalo nui to Captain Mokulehua and the other firefighters for an excellent tour of the museum!

The Honolulu Fire Museum is open to the public for free guided tours every third Saturday of every month. Go to their website to reserve a spot on the tour.

Repository Spotlight: Hawai`i Museums Association Conference 2016: “Places (S)Pacific”


The Hawai`i Museums Association  Conference was held a short distance from Kaua`i’s Waimea Canyon. Photo by Gavin Mičulka.

by Gavin Mičulka, HMA Member, Kona Historical Society Assistant Program Director.

Over a three-day weekend in April, I joined a group of thirty other museum professionals at the historic CCC Camp in Kaua`i’s Kōke`e State Park for the Hawai`i Museums Association 2016 Conference, “Place (S)Pacific.” At 4,000 feet above sea level in the Island’s mountainous mesic forests, Kōke`e is a short distance from Kaua`i’s famed Waimea Canyon and the Nā Pali Coast. Rustic accommodations, cold nights, and a lack of Wi-Fi and cell phone service were a stark contrast from my daily routine. But the incredible setting and intimate surroundings provided the perfect place to discuss the shared interests of Hawai`i’s museum and collections community.

The restored CCC Camp at Kōke`e. Photos by HMA and Gavin Mičulka.

Since 1968, the Hawai`i Museums Association has served the state’s museums, historic sites, gardens, and heritage organizations, which today number nearly 100. Conference attendees, many of whom are also active AHA members, came from several islands and represented organizations such as the Bishop Museum, Hawaii State Art Museum, Honolulu Museum of Art, Honolulu Mayor’s Office of Culture & the Arts, `Iolani Palace, Kīlauea Lighthouse, Kōke`e Museum, Kona Historical Society, Lahaina Restoration Foundation, Lyon Arboretum, Mānoa Heritage Center, Shangri La Center for Islamic Arts and Culture, and more. Each member brought insights reflective of the museum profession in general, but also unique to the specific interests of Hawai`i. These organizations embody a strong sense of place and share authentic stories that celebrate Hawai`i’s diverse cultural and natural heritage.

HMA’s 2016 conference allowed us to discuss the methods and techniques used in the museum field to share these place-specific stories. A keynote address by Dr. Keao NeSmith, author, Hawaiian translator, and University of Hawaii at Mānoa Instructor introduced the place that is Kaua`i. NeSmith’s ongoing efforts seek to use various media to reintroduce the Island’s traditional place names. By educating visitors and locals alike, such efforts foster stewardship for the environment and the stories so closely tied to place.


NeSmith has received accolades for his Hawaiian translations of  literary classics

Other local presenters spoke about their roles at Kaua`i’s cultural and historic sites. Aletha Kaohi, Manager of the West Kaua`i Visitor Center, spoke about Hawaiian perspectives of the Russian Fort Elizabeth. These perspectives, richly tied to personal stories and family traditions, illustrate how certain sites can manifest multiple senses of place. While a single perspective might be presented via road signs, maps, and brochures, efforts like those of Aletha help bring in the perspectives of Native Hawaiians. Frank O. Hay and Jim Ballantine shared the efforts of Kaua`i non-profit organizations to preserve and repurpose a couple of the Island’s historical sites. Frank’s organization, Hui o Laka, has helped preserve the historic CCC Camp for more than 60 years. Through the CCC Camp, Hui o Laka preserves and shares the stories of the young men that contributed to area’s forest management and conservation in the 1930s and 1940s. While maintaining its historical integrity, Hui o Laka use the renovated CCC Camp to host volunteer groups, researchers, and educational groups.

Jim’s Hale Puna organization recently acquired the Gulick Rowell Mission House and has initiated efforts to restore the home to its early 1900s condition. Today, the home’s grounds are maintained as a community garden and it is hoped that a restored home will serve as a community center. Aletha, Frank, and Jim showed how important a “sense of place” is to local people. They also reminded us of the desire to share this sense of place with the world and create more meaningful experiences for Hawai`i’s visitors. The conference’s theme of retaining a  “sense of place,” provides not only a connection to Hawai`i’s culture, which is so tied to the land, but also contributes to the preservation of place and community identity as we, as collections professionals, find new and engaging ways to share our collections and sites.

Jenny Leung, the Collection Manager at Mānoa Heritage Center took away much from these presentations,  “The HMA conference is an opportunity to listen, share and collaborate with our peers who work in diverse kinds of museums/cultural organizations, many of whom we often regard as being in “other departments” beyond collections management – educators, registrars, exhibit designers, directors, etc. The Kauai conference encouraged our staff who attended to work more integratively on projects within our organization, as well as reach out to other very different HMA members for solutions.”


Aletha Kaohi shares with HMA Members Native Hawaiian perspectives of the Russian Fort Elizabeth. Photo by Mina Elison.


A historic photo of the CCC Camp at Kōke`e. Image courtesy of Hui o Laka.

Other presenters allowed us to take a broader look at the needs of Hawai`i’s museums, their staff, and their visitors. Museums reflect the people they serve and more often visitors seek hands-on experiences. Bishop Museum’s Michael Wilson shared how interactive exhibits and games nurture a deeper level of learning and create more meaningful and memorable experiences for visitors. Michael’s presentation was itself interactive and encouraged conference attendees to create their own games, using simple instructions, to convey information. Technology will continue to play an evolving role in our field. The staff of the Kōke`e Museum showed us how GPS technology can play an important role in how we explore our sites and even maintain our collections. Discussions illustrated how GPS technology, combined with software like PastPerfect, can be used to geotag collections that are often spread across a wide area. Volunteers can regularly be the heart and soul of museums and their programs. Seasoned museum veterans Victoria Wichman of Kaua`i State Parks and Jill Laughlin of Lyon Arboretum shared their experiences in attracting and maintain volunteers, thus increasing museum productivity and advocacy.


Conference attendees visit the Kōke`e Museum.

Roundtable discussions allowed HMA members to discuss the challenges faced as museum professionals. Topics included conservation and collections care, professional development, marketing and promotion, volunteer training and management, and fundraising. “From a collections stand point, the HMA conference roundtable was an invaluable opportunity to talk story with colleagues who work in varying capacities with collections within a diverse range of museums and organizations in Hawai’i,” said Mina Elison, Curator at Kona Historical Society. “From collections of large-scale public art to biological specimens, not only could we honestly discuss our challenges of handling and curating these objects, participants were able to share some ‘victories’ and new strategies for success.” Roundtable discussions reminded attendees of the networks available to support Hawai`i’s museum professionals.


HMA conference attendees visit the National Tropical Botanical Garden.

Like AHA, the Hawai`i Museums Association is a community of deeply passionate professionals committed to the idea that stories do not necessarily have endings. We are meant to preserve and share those stories in a manner that is respectful, meaningful, and creative. Our shared work ensures that the stories of Hawai`i’s kupuna will be here for generations to come. Professional organizations such as AHA and HMA remind us that, although an ocean may separate us from some of the larger professional organizations on the mainland, we are not alone. We can rely upon active networks of Hawai`i professionals deeply committed to a set of shared interests and values. Our work may be challenging and ever-changing, but thanks to AHA and HMA we are able to build upon the ideas of those that came before us.


Conference attendees visit the Loy McCandless Marks Collection of Rare Books at the National Tropical Botanical Garden


Honolulu Fire Museum Site Visit: Saturday, June 18

Association of Hawaii Archivists members will be visiting and viewing the collection maintained at the Honolulu Fire Museum on Saturday, June 18th at 9:00 am. This promises to be a truly unique visit!  The event is already at capacity, but to inquire about the waiting list,  e-mail Linda Hee, visit organizer at: handwoven.lhee@gmail.comupload-0fcb53dc78e755f133a30a7b77cc0ef4

Repository Spotlight: Hawaii State Archives


The Hawaii State Archives is a division of the Department of Accounting and General Services within the State of Hawaii and is made up of two branches: the Records Management Branch and the Historical Records Branch.  The Historical Records Branch is open to the public Monday through Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., except State holidays.

Hawaii State Archives - Historical Records Branch

Hawaii State Archives – Historical Records Branch

Located on the Iolani Palace grounds, the Hawaii State Archives sits amongst looming banyan trees, between the Palace and the State Capitol building.  The current Archives building was built in 1953; and although the old Archives building still remains, it is used as an administrative office for the Friends of Iolani Palace.

Old Archives Building (photo courtesy of the Hawaii State Archives c.1905)

Old Archives Building
Photo courtesy of the Hawaii State Archives c.1905.

The Public Archives of Hawaii, as it was first known, was established by legislation in 1905.  It opened to the public in 1906.  After many years of collecting and acquiring material from various territorial departments and private donations, the original building could no longer hold the vast amount of material being transferred; and the need for a bigger and more modern space was required.

The new building erected behind the original one and broke ground in 1952; it opened to the public in 1953.  Since then, there have been improvements to the building, including adding an air conditioning system.

As time progressed, new technology and archival standards were adopted.  The mission of the Archives is to collect, preserve and make available to the public government records of permanent and historic value.

The Archives has more than 11,000 cubic feet of material, dating from the Kingdom to the current legislative session.  Individuals may research a variety of subjects, such as genealogy, land, or the latest Legislative bills.


The largest collections are government records; but there are also maps, photographs and manuscript collections.  Images courtesy of the Hawaii State Archives.

Public Use of Archives

The Archives has a reading room where researchers can look at requested materials, as well as browse through finding aids and indexes.  Unlike a library, doing research at the Archives requires some knowledge of your subject or person of interest; given that most government records are arranged by the agency, organization, or individual that created them and not by the subject or necessarily by the person it is about.  However, there are reference staff available to assist and guide you with your research needs.

The reading room also has several microfilm readers and one microfilm scanning station.  Some materials are only available on microfilm due to their fragile condition and/or is the only format for those records.  There are 3 computer stations that patrons can also use to view what has been digitized by the Archives and its online catalogs.

The reading room also has several microfilm readers and one microfilm scanning station.  Some materials are only available on microfilm due to their fragile condition and/or is the only format for those records.   There are 3 computer stations that patrons can also use to view what has been digitized by the Archives and its online catalogs.

5_registration computerVisitors who are interested in visiting the Archives must register and check in at the circulation counter.  You will be greeted by staff and asked to sign in and present a valid ID.  The Archives has lockers that you may use to store personal belongings.  You are allowed to bring in laptops, but there are limited outlets.  For more information visit: Public Use of Archives.

Online Access

If you can’t physically visit the Archives, there are some excellent online resources on their website.  For example, there are various indexes and records that have been scanned, such as the Hawaiian Genealogy Book Index, the Mahele Book, and Vital Statistics Collection, that you can view in Digital Collections.  You’ll also find various Research Aides to help you with your project.

What’s New?

Along with the digital resources available on the website, the Hawaii State Archives is in the process of developing a Digital Archives to not only enhance and preserve these digitized materials, but also born-digital materials that are deemed permanent and/or historically significant records from state agencies.  As technology and the needs of the state and the public to access records change and grow, the Hawaii State Archives is working toward providing this important service.  You can follow the progress of this initiative and other Archive News online.

Sharing Hawaii’s Past

The Hawaii State Archives is an invaluable resource to the people of Hawaii, as well scholars who come from all over the world to conduct research about Hawaii.


Archivist Alice Tran conducting an orientation on doing research at the Archives to students and staff from the University of Tokyo.  Photo courtesy of Ju Sun Yi.

Records at the Archives are unique and, for the most part, are only found here.  From original documents signed by the monarchy to marriage licenses, or letters to the governor of Hawaii, these records shed light on the people and events of not only Hawaii’s past, but tell its history to current and future generations.

Visit the Hawaii State Archives website for more information!

~Ju Sun Yi
































Repository Spotlight: Jean Charlot Collection

Concluding our conversation about Jean Charlot, the scope of his collection, and the deep relationships he forged, Curator Bronwen Solyom stated “I cannot think of a thing the man wasn’t interested in.” Distinguished as one of Hawaii’s great artists, his many talents and interests establish Charlot as a true renaissance man.

Charlot by Haar 1978

Throughout their twenty-year friendship, Francis Haar took many photographs of Charlot, documenting him at home and at work. This portrait was from their last session, taken in 1978 a few months before Charlot’s death.


The “Founding Collection” of books, archives, original artwork, photographs, audio-visual materials, and memorabilia was donated to the University of Hawaii’s Hamilton Library in 1981 by Jean Charlot’s widow, Zohmah. Additions to the collection were made by the artist’s family and friends. This is Hawaii’s most comprehensive public collection of artist papers. It serves faculty, staff, students, researchers and receives exhibition loan and reference inquiries spanning the globe.

Charlot ___Kahuna

“Kahuna with Sacred Stone,” portable fresco (plaster on Canec) created as a demonstration piece for Helen Gilbert’s art class in 1969.


The collection covers Charlot’s (1898-1979) career from France, to Mexico, to the United States and the Pacific. Charlot was prolific, creating paintings, frescoes, drawings, prints, ceramics and even sculpture. He was a scholar, critic, book illustrator, cartoonist, poet and collector. There are so many facets to his life that Bron says she can never predict how students will make use of the collections.



Bronwen Solyom

Bronwen Solyom, Curator of the Jean Charlot Collection, surrounded by art, archives, and books in the reading room (photo by M. Van Heukelem)


One of the most interesting aspects is the range of stories the collection tells in terms of his relationships with other artists. Correspondence between Charlot and noted photographer Edward Weston inspired a book. A postcard from Paris is signed by Dorothea Tanning, Max Ernst, Man Ray, Betty and Gustav Ecke. In Mexico, one of Charlot’s first jobs was to help Diego Rivera on a mural. Photographer Tina Modotti executed an early portrait in Mexico and Francis Haar’s photo of Charlot (pictured at top) captures him late in life.

Charlot EXHIBITION REC 1916 1st exhib

Charlot’s early interest in liturgical art led him to join the Gilde of Notre Dame, a group of young artists. In a 1916 exhibition, he stands next to Margeurite Hure, later a well-known stained glass artist, and sculptor, Renee Trudon. He displayed two polychrome horizontal bas-reliefs of angels, and a woodcut, Skeleton [Le pecheur, the sinner].

As a child in Paris, Charlot was surrounded by family collections. An aspiring young artist, he was taken to the Musée d’Ethnographie du Trocadéro (now the Musée de l’Homme) by family friend and photographer Désiré Charnay. Shortly after he began exhibiting (first exhibition pictured above), in 1918 he was sent to the front to join the French artillery and eventually became a junior officer. Following the war, Charlot tried his hand as a commercial artist, designing cosmetic packaging for Elizabeth Arden in the early 20’s. With little opportunity to make it as an artist, Charlot took his widowed mother to Mexico to live with relatives in 1921. Some of the earliest and most interesting memorabilia in the collection comes from Charlot’s family collection and his early years in France.


Charlot Goupil Louis vitrine 1970

Nineteenth century vitrine filled with Mexican folk art miniatures inherited by Charlot’s grandfather, Louis Goupil (who inherited it from his father Victor), as displayed in Charlot’s French childhood home.



In Mexico City Charlot was part of the Mexican Mural Movement. He fully immersed himself in the culture, even learning the language of the Mayan people. Besides murals, Charlot is recognized for working closely with archaeologists at Chichen Itza where he documented the fugitive colors on painted walls and reliefs as they were excavated. He collected the work of then under-appreciated artist José Guadalupe Posada. He was friends with Mexican artists active in the early 20th century including José Clemente Orozco, Emilio Amero, Leopoldo Mendez, Xavier Guerrero, and David Alfaro Siqueiros.

Charlot Massacre in the main temple  Kochen

“Massacre in the Main Temple.” Fresco mural, 1923, measuring 14 x 26 feet. Stairway, West Court, Escuela Prepatoria (now Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso), Mexico City.

Bron explains “this fresco, inspired by Paolo Uccello’s great battle masterpiece, established Charlot as a master of design and technique at the dawn of the so-called Mexican mural renaissance. The historical subject matter depicts atrocities committed by Spanish invaders as they surrounded a temple and killed or imprisoned the Aztecs celebrating a festival. It reflects Charlot’s pro-Indian sympathies and the lingering horrors from world war one. The powerful lines of the lances following the angular shape of the wall are painted in vermilion encaustic, an added medium that Charlot did not use again.”

He continued on to a career in the United States, working in New York and Colorado, before settling in Hawaii in 1949 where he taught at the University of Hawaii for 17 years. His first project was a mural for the University’s new administrative building (Bachman Hall). This mural titled “Relation of Man and Nature in Old Hawaii” as well as murals at the Hawaii Convention Center (installed from a prior location), Leeward Community College Theatre, and the United Public Workers building (with Isami Enemoto) on School Street, feature prominently in our public spaces.

JC PORTRAIT 1949 drum

A prophetic moment. Charlot discovers the power of the Hawaiian drum at Bishop Museum. Photograph by Walter Johnston, 1949.


He went with Hawaii artist Juliette May Fraser to Bishop Museum to study Hawaiian art and artifacts in preparation for his first mural in Hawaii. As in Mexico, he immersed himself in the local culture, taking Samuel Elbert’s first Hawaiian language class and continuing to repeat the courses once he reached the highest level of instruction.

Unexpected finds include a variety of memorabilia: rare 19th century Mexican folk art miniatures passed down through his family; a Margarete Steiff bear hand puppet (puppets became a recurring theme in his work); and his WWI artillery uniform. Artist archives can have many points of interest for researchers and this collection is a treasure trove for curators, historians, art collectors, and researchers on a multitude of topics.

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The Jean Charlot Collection is located on the 5th floor of Hamilton Library at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. The reading room is open Tuesdays from 9:00 am to noon and Thursdays from 1:00 to 5:00 pm, or other times by appointment.

All photographs courtesy of the Jean Charlot Collection with captions by Bronwen Solyom, unless otherwise noted.

Information was drawn primarily from a conversation with collections curator, Bronwen Solyom, with supporting information from the Jean Charlot Collection website and brochure. Many thanks for sharing your wealth of knowledge and stories about the collection!


Malia Van Heukelem