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Hawaii

See the History of Hawaii

The Bailey House located in the heart of Maui is the headquarters for the Hawaiian Historical Society and the home of Hale Ho’ike’ike or the Museum of Hawaiian History. It’s a great place to visit when attending Continuing Education Company Primary Care CME conferences.

The grounds are not only home to an amazing collection of unique artifacts but the building and grounds have a rich history all to themselves. The original grounds were once the royal residence of Chief Kahekili II the last ruler of Maui. After his passing in 1794, the island and the native population began to see a drastic shift in both their culture and way of life as more and more westerners began to settle. By 1833 the foundation of one of the first western-style houses was laid on the grounds. The original purpose of the structure was to serve as a mission to educate and preach to the indigenous people. By the 1840s the mission had evolved into a female seminary and eventual boarding school for girls and eventually boys. The school was managed by missionary couple Edward and Caroline Bailey who were able to keep the doors open even after funding was withdrawn from overseas missionary services. The land and home were briefly returned to the Hawaiian crown before being purchased back by the Baileys themselves. The school officially closed its doors when a large sugar plantation expanded its fields into the area. Nonetheless, the site was host to numerous important events in Hawaiian history, and the museum offers visitors the chance to discover the area’s rich history through the millennia.

Hale Ho'ike 'ike

Perhaps the biggest draw of visiting Hale Ho’ike’ike is the chance to peer back in time to how ancient Hawaiians lived for much of their history. The museum is home to one of the largest collections of pre-European contact tools, art, and weapons in the world. Considering the island’s tropical climate and frequent rainfall many of these artifacts seem as though they were carved only the day before until you look closely and notice all the small dents and imperfections scattered across their surfaces. As you slowly walk through the exhibits it’s hard to wonder how many ancient battles each of these weapons saw or how many fish broke free from the tangle of nets before the objects were briefly lost to time.

The museum

Besides the amazing collection of everyday objects, the museum is also home to numerous different works of art. One of the most valuable and iconic pieces in this part of the museum is a wooden sculpture of a local demi-god Kampau’a. The object is remarkable not only for its amazing condition but because it is one of the only surviving depictions of an ancient Hawaiian deity as most depictions of local idols were ordered to be destroyed in the early 1800s. This remarkable piece only survived because it had been hidden in a cave until its eventual discovery years later.

Other works of art in the collection include numerous oil paintings by Edward Bailey himself. Besides his mission work, Bailey was a remarkable amateur artist in his own right. Within the swirls of color on the canvases, you’ll peer into the tropical paradise of Maui just how it looked in the mid-1800s. You’ll also discover a model of a Hokulea or double sailed ship which the ancient Polynesians used to travel vast distances across an often unforgiving ocean as well as artifacts from ancient Hawaiian Royalty and numerous pieces of koa furniture. Besides holding several pieces from this state’s unique past, the museum also features objects closer to the present. One of the most iconic includes local legend Duke Kahanamoku’s surfboard who is credited for reviving Hawaii’s ancient sport and popularizing worldwide.

Whether you’re a history buff or are looking for a simple way to spend the day, the Bailey House has something to offer for everyone. Out of all the states in the country, Hawaii’s unique history and local culture go back millennia, and getting the chance to see just part of that amazing lineage is well worth a detour.


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