Maui’s history is unique and diverse, and Maui’s museums reflect this heritage. From whaling days to missionary times, and the not-so-distant past of the sugar plantations, you’ll find that small museums in Maui contain a wealth of information.
Passport to the Past
For history buffs who plan to visit several Maui museums, the best deal around is to purchase a “Passport to the Past.” For 10 dollars, visitors gain access to three of Maui’s best museums. Baldwin Home Museum is the oldest standing building on Maui, and offers a fascinating glimpse into the lives of an early (and still prominent) missionary family. Alexander & Baldwin Sugar Museum in Puʻunene gives insight into “King Sugar,” the industry that powered Hawaiʻi’s economy for over 100 years. Wo Hing Temple Museum in Lahaina was built by the Chinese community in 1912, and showcases the lives of these early immigrants to Hawaiʻi who profoundly influenced our cultural landscape.
The historic Bailey home in Wailuku has had many incarnations over the years: girls’ school, family home, civil defense headquarters, and now, home to the Maui Historical Society. Today the Maui museum houses the largest public collection of Hawaiian artifacts in Maui County. View the ingenious artifacts of traditional everyday life, as well as items belonging to kings, queens, and missionary families. Don’t forget to check out Duke Kahanamoku’s redwood surfboard in the Halau Waʻa (canoe house)!
Hui Noʻeau Visual Arts Center
Located near Makawao on the historic Kaluanui Estate, this is a true community arts gem. It’s open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, free to the public, and offers a great introduction to the current state of cultural arts on Maui. There are new works of art arriving all the time, as well as artists working on-site. Feeling creative? The museum in Maui offers classes to the public in a variety of media, including drawing, printmaking, jewelry, ceramics, traditional Hawaiian arts, and more. A historic home coupled with a contemporary arts center, and best of all, free? It’s a hit for the whole family!
Whale Center of the Pacific
Finally, whales. If you’re coming in the winter, you’ll definitely be looking for them. How about brushing up on your cetacean knowledge first with a visit to the Whale Center in Maʻalaea? The Pacific Whale Foundation offers a variety of educational opportunities as well as seasonal whale-watching excursions.
No matter your area of interest, you’re sure to find something fascinating at one of the many great museums in Maui!
Photo By Oscar O Oscar – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3851026