December 3, 2017 2:00 PM at the First Unitarian Church of Honolulu
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: email@example.com
On November 3rd, I boarded a Cessna with a handful of other excited museum, library, archive, and cultural resource professionals from around the Pacific. We were headed to Kalaupapa National Historical Park (NHP), to attend a three-day National Park Service (NPS) training: “Preventative Care and Remedial Conservation Techniques for Archival Collections and Wooden Artifacts.” UH Manoa students were among the participants, along with specialists from the Honolulu Museum of Art, ꞌIolani Palace, Kona Historical Society, and National Parks in American Samoa and Guam.
As we departed Oꞌahu, I was reminiscing about my journey to the park with AHA back in 2011. Museum Curator, Scott Williams, was our host and provided an orientation of the park, the new Cultural Resources facility, and some of the museum collections.
My attention was quickly drawn out the Cessna window as the Molokaꞌi North Sea cliffs came into view. It was more breathtaking than I had remembered; although this was the first time viewing from that vantage point. In my first visit, the adventurous archivists had flown topside and hiked down the 3.5 mile trail. The trail scales 1,600 feet of vertical sea cliffs, with 26 switchbacks, and it was an amazing introduction to life on Kalaupapa.
As we now approached the runway for landing, I was grateful for the opportunity to experience Kalaupapa from the air. After all, when you can witness things from varying points of view, there is often an enhanced understanding and appreciation for the beauty that is….
“Kalaupapa… is a place where past suffering has given way to personal pride about accomplishments in the face of adversity. It is a place where each of us can reconsider our emotional and physical responses to people with disfiguring disabilities or illnesses. It is a place where the land has the power to heal—because of its human history, natural history, and stunning physical beauty.” –NPS GMP/EIS
Kalaupapa NHP’s Hansen’s disease (leprosy) population, both surviving and deceased, with its material culture, oral histories, and intact physical community, is one of the only of its kind in the U.S. The settlement is still home to several surviving patients that reside in the community on a part-time or full-time basis. Kalaupapa NHP honors the mo’olelo (stories) of the isolated Hansen’s community by preserving and interpreting its sites and values.
The park is also an extensive and valuable archaeological complex with a number of archaeological resources, a vast variety of site types, and an extensive time range of habitation and land use. The role of the peninsula as a place of exile from 1866-1969 contributed to the preservation of the pre-contact archaeological complex. According to NPS, Kalaupapa remains one of the richest and least disturbed archaeological landscapes in Hawaiꞌi.
As part of continuing efforts to preserve objects of social and cultural significance, KNHP arranged for two conservators from Harpers Ferry Center (HFC) to work on-site for one month with a major task of cleaning and stabilizing the altar at St. Philomena Church. Carrie Mardorf, Chief of Cultural Resources, with sponsorship through Pacific Historic Parks, also arranged for the conservators to teach a three-day workshop to allow museum students and professionals from the Pacific Islands to learn about preventative care and conservation techniques for museum objects.
The training was held in the Cultural Resources building, which houses state of the art curatorial facilities to preserve and conserve objects, artifacts, and archive materials that tell the stories of Kalaupapa NHP and its residents. The collection storage and research facility, called Hale Malāma, was not fully completed back when AHA visited in 2011; so it was a privilege to see the result of phase II.
Scott Williams reports that the museum collection, first managed in 1987, contains over 350,000 objects and archival documents, primarily representing the late twentieth century experiences of residents within the Kalaupapa Settlement. A growing portion of the collection is comprised of archaeological assemblages and representative natural specimens as management continues to inventory its resources. Roughly 300,000 items have been accessioned and cataloged into the Interior Collections Management System. For several years there was no full-time museum staff to process the items. Right now, Scott is the only museum employee; however, the Museum Technician position will be filled in February.
The mauka wing has a lab and curatorial storage facility, which holds rows of books, archives, archaeological collections, and personal objects, that all tell a story of Kalaupapa’s history. The mauka lab is used for accessioning, cataloging, and conservation work; in addition, it contains two large chest freezers. The wing also holds a large back-up generator that proved very useful during our stay; although, in darkness we learned that the generator is solely for climate control and not lighting.
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The makai wing holds a storage facility for over-sized objects such as furniture, lighting fixtures, and antiquated medical equipment. This wing also contains a lab for processing and conservation work and allows for new collections to be brought in without affecting other collections. I was highly impressed with the large walk-in freezer, which we also noted had a safety feature so that you could not lock yourself inside.
We were fortunate to have two highly informative and engaging HFC specialists lead the training. Theresa Voellinger is the Photograph and Paper Conservator for all of NPS; and Curtis Sullivan is the sole Wooden Artifacts Conservator. They carefully balanced lectures with hands-on opportunities to work with the museum collections.
Theresa covered the history of paper and photography; as it is important to know what an object is made of and how it is made to properly care for it. We learned some surface cleaning techniques for archival collections and were able to clean some of the Park’s collection.
Theresa also taught us countless great tips and tricks for handling and caring for a variety of objects, including distinguishing cellulosic film and polyester film. After learning about long-term preservation strategies for film-based photographic materials, we tried out our new skills and prepared some of the park’s cellulose film for cold storage. The micro-climates we created will allow the boxes to be placed in a frost-free freezer.
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When caring for wood objects, Curtis explained the usefulness of understanding the nature of wood and the variation of wood grain from various sawing techniques. As both a wood craftsmen and a conservator, Curtis seeks to understand how a piece was selected. The boards a woodworker may have chosen for decorative or aesthetic purposes may be unstable and difficult to conserve. Conservation of wooden materials at Kaluapapa has been challenging due to the environmental conditions and termite infestations.
We also had the privilege of seeing the work that Theresa and Curtis had completed at the park. We did a site visit to Kalawao and St. Philomena (Father Damien’s Church). Father Damien, one of the most famous caregivers at Kalawao, is buried in the churchyard at St. Philomena. Damien was 49 years old when he died on April 15, 1889, with Mother Marianne at his bedside. His remains were exhumed in 1936 and reburied at Louvain, Belgium. In 1995, a relic composed of the remains of his right hand was returned to his original grave at Kalawao. In 2009, Damien was canonized a Saint in the Catholic Church.
Just one of their many projects during their stay, Theresa and Curtis worked tirelessly as a team to stabilize and clean the surface of the church alter. Loose pieces were secured, termite damage was repaired and surface grime was removed.
If you have questions about KNHP collection accessibility, a portion of the collection is accessible for research to the public on-site and electronically. Many materials have been digitized for access (NPS Web Catalog) for users off-site or those who can’t travel to park; however, some content is sensitive and requires restricted distribution. Copyright and permissions issues also limit distribution of some materials.
On behalf of all of the participants, I extend a huge Mahalo out to the NPS staff for being our hosts, teachers, and friends: Carrie Mardorf, Scott Williams, Theresa Voellinger, and Curtis Sullivan. We walked away with more than I could ever articulate in a blog post.
I leave you with the beauty that is… Kalaupapa…. Respectfully, Jill Sommer
“Many who come to Kalaupapa recognize an intense, nearly tangible, mana or powerful force that Hawaiian peoples find in all things. The ʻāina (land), a vital source that links us to spirit is sacred and becomes our ʻaumakua (guide) that connects us to the continued presence of all who lived out their lives on this peninsula. The ʻāina’s mana (spiritual essence) connects us to each other and to spirit.” –NPS GMP/EIS
What do you think of when someone says NOAA? In Hawaii, we may think ‘oooh, marine biology!’ because of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in our (watery) back yard. Most people not as enlightened as us would ask ‘How’s the weather?’ This would have been me until Tuesday 28 July, 2015, when AHA sponsored a site tour for its members. There is so much more to NOAA.
NOAA is composed of six departments, the National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service; National Marine Fisheries Service; National Ocean Service; National Weather Service; Office of Marine and Aviation Operation; and the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research.
Until very recently, the Hawaii components of these offices were scattered across the islands. By April 2014 all had been consolidated into the purpose built NOAA Daniel K. Inouye Regional Center based out on Ford Island. When we had gathered in the stunning atrium of the new center, our host, Librarian Ani Turner, introduced us to Wende Goo, communications director and public affairs, who gave us some background on Ford Island and the new center.
Mokuʻumeʻume was renamed Ford Island in the late 1800 for the island’s then owner, Dr. Seth Porter Ford. In 1916 it was sold to US Army for use as an air strip and for naval operations. In 1964 it was designated a National Historic Landmark for its witness to the start of World War II.
The photo at the top shows how two of the original airplane hangars were renovated and connected by new construction. Hangar facades and some features were historically preserved and house the research labs and offices. The new central atrium contains public areas, including the library and tsunami learning center which we visited later.
The building is LEED (Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design) gold certified. One of the ‘coolest’ things about it is its solar powered passive cooling system where air is blown over cold deep-sea water to cool building. Quite a feat in a more than 40 foot high glass box! Wende said it cost $335,000.00 to construct the building and it is projected to save $50,000 a year in our tax payer dollars in operating costs.
After this introduction, Patty Miller, Outreach Coordinator, demonstrated Science on a Sphere (SOS) developed by NOAA as an outreach tool for their educational program.
SOS is a six foot diameter globe animated by computers and video projectors that can demonstrate an astounding array of information. Patty started us off with what you would expect, animated data of last week’s weather, showing cloud movement and current patterns. She then showed us wave amplitude and tracking of actual tsunamis, including the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan.
But SOS can do so much more! She demonstrated tracking animal populations and their movements, the changing polar ice caps over the decades (the shrinkage is very scary), night lights over the globe (America has a LOT) and even airplane routes. We were a pretty good audience, as appreciative and enthusiastic as kids about the amazing things she showed us.
Ani then took us to the brand new library for the Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center. It took 8 years to plan the 5,700 square foot space and the library is a little gem. You enter from the main atrium through a glass door in the center of floor to ceiling glass walls. The counters and shelving in the reading area are made from Hawaiʻi Island ohiʻa wood and the seating area furnished with comfortable chairs.
This is all Ani’s doing. She has been the sole librarian for 14 years, caring for the collection and the taking care of the needs of the staff as well as the public.
NOAA has a network of about 20 libraries across the nation, most geared to the specific needs of their professional staff. This particular library focuses on Pacific marine sciences and fisheries. Because the scientists need to keep up with current research, the collection leans more towards scientific journals and articles than books.
Ani purchases based on staff requests and staff can borrow this material for as long as they need it. Those collections not currently in use are housed on shelves behind the reading area. She has a small climate controlled room for rare books and those that are in fragile condition.
Like most of us, she is trying to digitize the collection as time and resources allow. The question came up about what can be made public and what should not be. As an example, she has cruise reports- all correspondence and documentation as well as research results- dating back to 1949. The actual reports have been digitized and are on the web. Associated materials like memos and other correspondence are not. Hmmm…. A Collections Quandary! Perhaps there will be more discussion on this at the February 13, 2016 annual meeting- join us and see!
The question was asked about public access. Ani explained that as a federal institution, the collection is free and open to the public. NOAA maintains an on-line public catalogue of all their holdings. However, because of the high level of science carried out here, most of it is too arcane for your typical high school science project.
We then, reluctantly, had to leave the library to go up the glass fronted elevator (my favorite kind) to the third floor where the Tsunami Information Center is located. Terry Fukuji explained that they work with, but are separate from the Pacific Tsunami Center. The Tsunami Information Center focuses on outreach and training locally as well as nationally and internationally. Like the library, they had many pamphlets, maps and handouts that we were welcome to take. This library was mandated in 1965 and currently has five staff members plus a vacant office manager position.
They are also free and open to the public and while you can’t check out these materials, you are free to do on-site research as much as you like. This is a main stop for school group tours and one of the ‘funnest’ displays was an acrylic diorama with ACTUAL WATER where you could push down on a plunger to simulate tsunami wave action. One of our members created a wave big enough to knock down the plants at the top!
Our tour was completed by Chad Yoshinaga who told us more about the research side of NOAA. Chad has 22 years on the job as a Fisheries biologist. He gets to go out on the ships to gather science data that the resource managers will then use to determine national policies and procedures. One of the services they perform is to help injured animals, like monk seals that take hooks in their mouths or turtles tangled up in trash and fishing debris. Takeaway lesson: Let them know immediately if you see an injured animal and don’t try to help it. They have specific tools and procedures they use to track and capture the animals that we can easily mess up by ‘helping!’
He took us outside the building to see from afar two of the research vessels that were currently in port and the animal care facility. Interesting to note that the deep sea well that provides water to cool the building also fills the tanks in the animal care facility.
The Inouye Regional Center is an amazing place with even more impressive people working in it doing phenomenal research. If you have a chance, you should drop by or at least check out their web site.
By Linda Hee
Hawaiʻi, Moku O Keawe
By Malia Morales
It’s not easy for busy professionals to be able to travel to a neighbor island for an entire weekend of professional development, but the 2015 AHA Annual meeting was certainly worth every moment (and dollar) spent on Hawaiʻi Island. From beginning to end, the daily agendas were very thoughtfully planned, well coordinated, and cheerfully managed. The learning opportunities abounded, not just because of the many significant cultural sites selected for visits, but also because of the wonderful librarians, archivists, cultural resources, and eager students in attendance. The collective knowledge and experience of the 35 attendees was impressive and an experience unto itself.
Upon arrival at the Kona airport, folks gathered and greeted each other with smiling faces and open arms. Our diligent planning team had already skillfully mapped out all of the travel routes, checked the weather, traffic (yes, there was traffic in Kona, unfortunately due to a terrible accident), saw to our transportation, and quickly had us excitedly on our way to our first destination, the Kona Historical Society. Though we were in traffic, we had plenty of time to admire the stunning scenery and enjoy lovely conversations with friends, both old and new.
The group was treated to pastries and beverages at our first destination and also had time to sit and talk before being introduced to the history of the site. Our hosts shared about a specially created experience for the group, which was to include some time in the library and archive as well as being participant observers in a shopping experience at the general store, which would have been typical to the period of the areas’ earlier inhabitants. We then continued to the Kona Coffee Living History Farm for an introduction to the site, the mission and activities of the managing group, and self-tours of one of the farm’s historical Japanese family living areas, coffee roasting facilities, and key fruit plant setups. The group enjoyed an ʻono bento lunch and a variety of refreshing drinks, including 100% Kona coffee from the farm!
Our next visit was to Huliheʻe Palace. Known to have been a home of Princess Ruth Keʻelikolani as well as other Hawaiian aliʻi, the grounds and building are full of historical items and incredibly interesting stories.
After checking into our rooms at the Kamuela Inn and freshening up, we went to Parker Ranch’s Pukalani Stables, where the group was given private access to the Paniolo Heritage Center. Viewing all of the pieces of paniolo history, and reading through the many histories of Parker Ranch cowboys and cowgirls, set the stage for our evening speaker, Dr. Billy Bergin, longtime Parker Ranch veterinarian and cowboy. Following an excellent buffet dinner in the private dining area, and an incredibly informational talk by Dr. Bergin, the group returned to the Inn to rest and reflect on a busy, but lovely, day.
All welcomed the following Kamuela morning in different ways. Some slept-in a bit and enjoyed muffins and coffee at the Inn, others were up early to explore the town on foot and try some recommended local breakfast spots. Before we knew it though, we were checked out and on our way to Honokaʻa to visit the North Hawaiʻi Education and Research Center (NHERC), to be hosted by Dr. Momi Naughton, and have our 2015 Annual Meeting and lunch. Dr. Naughton pulled several fascinating items from the collection and shared stories about each item that captivated us all. Every moment there was much appreciated!
The close of our second and final day was spent at Puʻukoholā heiau and the Kīholo Bay Scenic Overlook. AHA’s own Kepā Maly and Helen Wong-Smith shared information about Puʻukoholā, an extremely significant Hawaiian cultural site, as well as the development of and access to an informational database about the site. Mahalo NUI to them both for all the valuable information shared!
The return home after a weekend full of such great fellowship and sharing of valuable information was a bit sad in that we all had to part ways. But it was also very exciting to know that we were now much more fortified with knowledge, experience, and an expanded personal network to better represent our organizations and serve our users. Mahalo piha to each member of the planning committee for a phenomenal job done in coordinating this year’s Annual meeting!
More of Malia’s photos can be viewed on Flickr!
In honor of the approaching Hawaii International Film Festival (HIFF), which begins October 30th, this month’s repository spotlight shines on ꞌUluꞌulu: The Henry Kuꞌualoha Giugni Moving Image Archive of Hawaiꞌi.
ꞌUluꞌulu, located in the UH West Oahu campus Library, is the official state archive for moving images and is dedicated to the care, preservation, and digitization of film and videotape related to the history and culture of Hawai‘i. There are currently over 17,000 videotapes, 250 motion picture film reels, and 300 hours of digitized footage in the archives’ collections.
ꞌUluꞌulu will be showcasing a newly preserved and digitized film from their collection and project it on the big screen as part of HIFF’s Made in Hawaii program. This year ꞌUluꞌulu will be screening TWO documentary films from the Friends of ꞌIolani Palace collection:
ꞌIolani Palace: Hawaii’s Past Today (1968)
ꞌIolani Palace Restoration (circa 1970)
Both documentary films were directed by local filmmaker George Tahara and document the decade-long restoration of the Palace from 1969-1979. These were recently digitized along with 47 other films from the Friends of ‘Iolani Palace collection at ‘Ulu‘ulu. The archival prints are 16mm motion picture film reels. ꞌUluꞌulu worked with a preservation lab to create digital preservation master and access files of all 49 reels.
ꞌUluꞌulu’s Archival Film Screening Night at the Hawaii International Film Festival is happening on Saturday, November 8th, 2014 at 4:00 p.m. at the Dole Cannery Theatre… And it’s FREE!!!
The premiers of the digitized ‘IOLANI PALACE : HAWAII’S PAST TODAY and ‘IOLANI PALACE RESTORATION will be followed by a panel discussion about the technical aspects of film archiving and preservation, the history of the Palace restoration, and the importance of ‘Iolani Palace as the center of social and political life for the Kingdom of Hawai‘i and for today. We hope to see you there!
For more information on ꞌUluꞌulu and other repositories, visit AHA’s 5th Edition of the Directory of Historical Records Repositories in Hawai‘i.