Although 1996 was a hallmark year for completion of the Center's first 25 years, the momentum is set that 1997 will launch several new programs and projects.
The first item on the new year's agenda is to secure a building department variance for the three thatched houses of the Kauhale O Hana. Even though permits for their construction were issued in January of 1996 and their completion approved in September of 1996, they were declared illegal in October of 1996. In Maui County, thatched structures are only permitted on hotel zoned property... our public hearing is scheduled for January 9th, 1997. [Note: Our variance was approved and we are now moving forward with construction of the Hale Wa`a.]
We anticipate resuming the construction of the Hale Wa`a, Canoe House within the Kauhale O Hana complex and trust that it will be ready for blessing during the visit of the Hokule`a scheduled for April 4th, 1997 at the beginning of the Taro Festival.
The Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism is quite supportive of our Kauhale O Hana project and have provided a substantial budget to help in its promotion. These funds provide support for the maintenance of the ethno-botanical gardens, new signs, new educational brochures, photographic documentation, the launching of an educational web site on the Internet, and a modest retainer for a part time Marketing Consultant. The goal of this promotional program is to increase the utilization of the entire Cultural Center complex particularly the Kauhale O Hana, recognizing that it is a unique cultural educational resource.
For several years we have actively prayed that our Old Hana Jailhouse won't fall over. It is leaning mauka so if it does fall it probably won't slide into the Hana Bay. Maui County has generously provided a seed grant to help us raise the necessary $25,000 to $35,000 required to rebuild this historic landmark. The Old Jail is on the National Register of Historic Places so there are many considerations that must be addressed before we can begin restoration/reconstruction. We anticipate launching this program after completion of the Canoe House and are encouraged by assurances of help from the Hana School Mock Trials group under the able direction of attorney Lisa Kristofferson. We are considering a careful dismantling of the Old Jail to duplicate every timber, then creating small plaques from the salvageable old wood and offering them as mementos to donors to this building project. If you would like to reserve an authentic piece of Hana history for your wall, please call Jozef Smit at 808-248-8622.
The Old Hana Courthouse is also in need of repairs and we expect that before 1998 arrives, we will have to have estimates made for major structural work. We trust that these repairs will wait until next year.
With new artifacts and digital media being donated to the museum, we are planning to hire a part time Archivist Apprentice to assume many of the duties now performed by Coila in the archive wing. This person would be responsible for proper documentation and filing of new materials and maintaining the Collections Management System. Although our archive system is reputed to be one of the best on Maui, we do see ways we can improve our service to the public. We are investigating the possibility of creating a digital photo archive so that research can be performed without having to disturb the original photographs safely stored in the archive. We have discussed the program with the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts and they may support a preliminary phase of digitizing our collection. We have studied the system used by the San Francisco Museum of Fine Art and feel that the procedure would be beneficial to Hana. If the program is approved, we would hire local students to learn digital photo editing techniques and help us create a masterfile of images that could be viewed on a computer screen thereby leaving the fragile original photographs safe in the archive room. As copyright issues are resolved, we anticipate making these images available to other historical and educational organizations. It is a big dream, yet completely attainable with the newer technologies.
The programs described above and the educational programs we anticipate developing in 1997 will require constant review by a Cultural Resource Specialist. With the Kauhale O Hana, as it is opened to an increasing number of cultural visitors, we must insure authenticity while following the protocol of the culture. We see the need for cultural guides at the Kauhale O Hana to help educate our visitor to the deep beauty of the Hawaiian way.
These are ambitious plans for a small regional Cultural Center with 4 part time employees. Our gift store sales and membership dues cannot begin to meet the financial needs of these programs. There is a great public need for us to provide these services, and therefore we receive encouragement from county and state agencies. They provide seed moneys as challenge grants for us to keep finding new ways to be self sufficient as we fulfill this public desire to know and understand the rich history of the Hana district.
You can help in this fulfillment. Please encourage your friends to become supporters of the Hana Cultural Center and Museum. In this way we are assured that accomplishments of our next 25 years will be as significant as our past 25 years. Together we will do what needs to be done.