Never pass up a chance to sit down or relieve yourself. -old Apache saying

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Bishop Museum

On our recent trip to Hawaii, we visited the Bishop Museum, a repository of Hawaiian history and science in the historic Kalihi district of Honolulu. It's officially called the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum, the Hawai'i State Museum of Natural and Cultural History.

The main building is Hawaiian Hall.

Sadly, there was not enough time to see everything in the museum, as often happens. Fish played a big role in ancient Hawaiian culture, as you might expect.

I was struck by the stark disparity between the intricate description of all of the ancient Hawaiian gods in the Hawaiian Hall and the detailed scientific information in the Richard T. Mamiya Science Adventure Center just across the well-manicured lawn.

Ancient Hawaii had its own pantheon of gods, like most primitive cultures on earth did. While it is mildly interesting, to me, it's just another version of primitive ignorance. The ancient Hawaiians were probably not stupid, just ignorant of nature and science.
they did amazing things
 with Koa wood

Then again, the Hawaiians pride themselves on their relationship to nature and all living things. This is a good thing.

It is understandable that ancient civilizations attributed events that they did not understand, like erupting volcanoes, to a god-like entity. But at some point, we must realize they were simply superstitions and move on. I don't think we really learn that much about current-day Hawaiians by analyzing their ancient superstitious beliefs.

Over here in the Hawaiian Hall is what people used to believe about nature. Over here in the Science Adventure Center are facts about nature. Good contrast.

One other interesting contrast I picked up is the fact that women played large roles in Hawaiian society. It wasn't until those "enlightened", "civilized", Europeans stumbled along that women were subjugated to inferior roles in society. It has taken us a long time to correct that error.
inside the Science
Adventure Center

Still, it was enjoyable to explore the Bishop Museum. I love museums, and a museum in a tropical paradise, even better.

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