Lasting Impressions: Printing & Engraving in Hawai‘i

April 16, 2004 - June 26, 2004

Lasting Impressions is the dramatic story of the introduction of printing and engraving to the Hawaiian Islands in the early 19th century, its profound impact on historical events, and its lasting influence on Hawaiian culture and art today.

In addition to recounting how the art and science of printing first came to the Islands, the exhibition offers unique insight into the belief systems both of the Native Hawaiian people and the American missionaries, the introduction of technology and the resulting cultural exchange and rapid transformation that took place. In the short span of time between when the first spelling lesson was pulled off the missionaries’ aging press in Honolulu in 1822, to the printing of the first Hawaiian language newspaper in Lahaina in 1834, the Hawaiian language became a written, as well as oral, language, and Hawaiians themselves became readers, writers, printers, engravers and bookbinders.

This fascinating story will be told through a variety of printed works produced in the Hawaiian Islands in the early 19th century. The exhibition will present the evolution of printing and engraving in Hawai‘i, from the initial main intent of the missionaries in Honolulu to print religious materials in the Hawaiian language, to the secular printing of educational materials, maps and textbooks at the Lahainaluna Seminary