The Hawaiian Mission Houses Historic Site and Archives:
Where Two Worlds Meet
|Frame House (Hale La‘au) (1821)
The oldest wood frame structure still standing in the Hawaiian Islands, it was shipped around Cape Horn from Boston in 1820. It was used as a communal home by many missionary families who shared it with island visitors and boarders.
Hear architect Spencer Leineweber talk about the Frame House
Chamberlain House (Ka Hale Kamalani) (1831)
|Printing Office (Ka Hale Pa‘i) (1841)
Also built from coral blocks, this structure was completed in 1841 and contains a replica of the first printing press to be brought to Hawaii. Here, some of the first books and printed materials in Hawaii were produced. The restored printing office shows how early Protestant Missionaries and native Hawaiians collaborated on the production of numerous books and other printed materials first printed in the Hawaiian language
Listen to historian Peter Salter describe the Ramage Press
Hawaiian Mission Houses Historic Site and Archives preserves the heritage and interprets the stories of the American Protestant Missionaries, their descendants, and their relationships with the people and cultures of Hawai`i, connecting with contemporary life, and encouraging a deeper understanding and appreciation of the complex history of Hawaiʻi.
Hawaiian Mission Houses Historic Site and Archives is a National Historic Landmark and is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.
Historic Site Collections
Cherished family heirlooms collected by the Hawaiian Mission Children's Society form the core of the curatorial collections at Hawaiian Mission Houses. Each of these objects, generously donated by individuals, families or institutions, has its own story to tell about the early missionaries, who left the comfort and security of their homes in New England to travel to a distant land thousands of miles away.
Many of the items in the Museum's collections survived a five-month journey around Cape Horn. They provide valuable insight into the domestic lives of 19th century Americans. Other pieces crafted locally or received as gifts from Hawaiian royalty or visiting sea captains, combine New England design with the use of Hawaiian materials such as native woods and fibers. Some pieces reflect the lucrative business of the China Trade.
• Furniture & Domestic Artifacts
• Personal artifacts
• Tools and equipment
• Communication and recreation artifacts
• Art objects
Listen to Judd descendant Anna Blackwell share the history of the
Judd Lantern on display at the Hawaiian Mission Houses
The Mission Cemetery, established in 1823 on the grounds of Kawaiah a`o Church and maintained by the Hawaiian Mission Children's Society, is the oldest Christian graveyard in Hawai`i.
A walk through the Cemetery is a trip back in time, with Binghams, Bishops, Alexanders, Chamberlains, Castles, Cookes, Armstrongs and Gulicks buried on the grounds. The first adult missionary buried here was Elizabeth Edwards Bishop (1798 - 1828), the second wife of the Reverend Artemas Bishop, who came to the Islands in 1823 with the Second Company from New Haven. She shares a plot with her husband and her son, the Reverend Sereno Edwards Bishop, who was only a year old when his mother died.
Also, of three Hawaiian men schooled in Connecticut by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions that returned to their native Hawai`i to aid the missionaries in the First Company, one, William Kanui (ca. 1796 - 1864) is buried here.
Listen to former Hawaiian Mission Houses membership coordinator Lee Wild share her memories of managing the cemetery
The HMCS Library collections focus on the Missionary Period in Hawaiian history and contain over 12,000 printed volumes and over 250 linear feet of manuscript material, including:
• Hawaiian-language imprints produced on the missionary press
• Micronesian and Marquesan language books, including Bibles
• Microfilms of missionary journals and letters
• Missionary journals, written in their own hand
• Photographs of missionaries and their homes and churches. Also of Hawaiian ali´i.
• Art-on-paper. Many missionaries were proficient in art, and some of their work has survived.
• Pamphlets related to missionary work and everyday lives
• To search our published works, go to our online catalog.
T. Twigg Smith, Charles Black, Rev. Akaka, Annie Kanahele, and Rev. Terpstra
present Gov. John Burns with a copy of the Missionary Album (Sept. 1969)
Listen as Betty Alexander shares her experience working on the Missionary Album
Hawaiian Mission Houses collects, preserves, interprets and exhibits documents, artifacts and other records of Hawai`i's missionary period (1820 - 1863) and beyond. The Museum makes these collections available for research, educational purposes and enjoyment.
The Museum's collection holds over 3,000 Hawaiian, Western, and Pacific artifacts and more than 12,000 books, manuscripts, original letters, diaries, journals, illustrations and Hawaiian church records.
The Museum strives to promote cross-cultural understanding of Hawai`i's history, both past and present; therefore, it places great emphasis on incorporating contemporary elements into nearly all of its exhibitions, adult and school programs, workshops and special events.
Listen to former Hawaiian Mission Children's Society board member Sam Cooke give an account of the
theft and recovery of the Kekela watch