Bishop Exhibit Is Uniquely Human

Reed Travel Features

HONOLULU -- Bishop Museum, the State Museum of Natural and Cultural History, has a new exhibition featuring many of its rare and rarely seen collections.

It also has expanded its retail operation and added more daily activities.

The museum describes its new exhibition -- "Treasures of Hawaii" -- as the "best of Bishop Museum, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hear and touch what's found nowhere else on earth."

It runs through May 4 at the museum's Castle Hall.

Here, visitors can see one of the world's smallest fish, with the aid of a microscope, as well as the largest insect.

Original artifacts, plant specimens and sketches collected and drawn by Capt. Cook's crew more than 200 years ago are on display.

Also here are rocks from Loihi, Hawaii's newest volcano, a mile below sea level off the Big Island.

Such objects as Queen Liliuokalani's secret diaries, King Kalakaua's scrapbook and King Kamehameha's yellow feather cloak also are on display.

More than 50 hands-on activities are featured.

Children can play a Hawaii-an musical instrument, find out why the beak shapes of honeycreepers changed over time, go on a treasure hunt and listen to music recorded in the early 1900s.

As part of the exhibition, Hawai'iloa, a 57-foot voyaging canoe, is on display on the museum's lawn.

According to the museum, it is the first Polynesian voyaging canoe built this century, mainly of traditional materials.

It sailed from Hawaii to the Marquesas Islands in French Polynesia in 1995 and will return to the waters for sailing after the Treasures exhibition ends.

The canoe, a project of the museum's Native Culture and Arts program, is funded through a cooperative agreement with the National Park Service.

Admission to the exhibition is included in the museum's admission price.

Also included in the admission price is the planetarium show, currently Journey by Starlight, featuring Polynesian voyaging.

Native Books & Beautiful Things, an association of artists and craftsmen with a downtown store, has taken over the museum's retail operation.

Besides the museum's Shop Pacifica, which features books, gifts and educational items, a new retail area featuring Hawaiian arts and crafts opened.

The museum has expanded its daily program of events, held Monday through Saturday.

It has added more gallery tours, including tours for Japanese-speaking visitors, and presentations of historical film clips from the museum's archives are conducted three times a day.

Also, a different craft demonstration is held each day from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

In other news, the construction of an expanded, $30 million planetarium has been delayed.

Instead of closing early this year for the project, as was announced in plans last fall, the planetarium will remain open for shows at least until the summer.

The museum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Admission is $14.95 for adults, $11.95 for children ages 6 to 17 and seniors.

Children under 6 are admitted free.

For additional information, call the museum at (808) 847-3511 or fax (808) 847-3511.

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