BISHOP MUSEUM TO RECEIVE $2.5 MILLION IN CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PROJECT FUNDS FROM STATE OF HAWAII FOR RENOVATION OF THE PLANETARIUM AND POLYNESIAN HALL
HONOLULU — Bishop Museum announced today that it will receive 2.5 million in capitol improvement project funds from the State of Hawai‘i. The State Legislature has approved, and Governor Abercrombie has released, a $1.5 million capital request to upgrade the theatre in the Jhamandas Watumull Planetarium and $1.0 million for the renovation of Polynesian Hall.
Said Bishop Museum President and CEO Blair D. Collis, “Bishop Museum is tremendously grateful to the Governor and Legislature for release of these capital improvement funds. This support will both bolster our ability to provide greater access to our collections and grow our capacity to deliver new and dynamic educational programs to our community.”
The announcement comes on the 50th anniversary of the planetarium, which opened on December 12, 1961 and was the first planetarium anywhere in Polynesia. CIP funds will enable the Watumull Planetarium to step into the 21st century, moving to a ‘hybrid’ system in which a state of the art star machine will work in tandem with an all-dome video system to provide a full astronomy educational experience. Audiences will feel like they are flying through the rings of Saturn or into the depths of the ocean.
Bishop Museum’s new system will also include the latest star projector, which will provide a crisper, more realistic recreation of the night sky, as well as a new seamless interior dome to replace the well-worn 1961 dome. Seating, carpet, lighting and the sound system will also be replaced and upgraded.
The remaining one million in CIP funds will be used to restore the two-story Polynesian Hall, which first opened in 1894. With a new narrative, restored cases, and a grand staircase linking the floors, visitors to the Museum will be able to place Hawai‘i, Hawaiian culture, and Hawaiian history in the context of the greater Pacific. They will discover that Polynesians arose from common ancestors and that today, these people lead diverse, dynamic, and complex lives. They will also be exposed to multiple ways of knowing, from archaeology, ethnography, history and genetics to linguistics and oral traditions.
The renovation of Polynesian Hall will also make it possible to provide far greater access to the Museum’s extraordinary collections of Pacific Island cultural materials, including access to rarely seen archaeological materials uncovered by Bishop Museum scientists in Tahiti, the Marquesas and Cook Islands, Samoa, Tonga, and Fiji.
Bishop Museum expects the Jhamandas Watumull Planetarium renovations to be complete by the end of 2012. The grand reopening of Polynesian Hall will take place in the Spring of 2013.
About Bishop Museum
The Bishop Museum was founded in 1889 by Charles Reed Bishop in memory of his wife Bernice Pauahi Bishop, the last direct descendant of King Kamehameha I. Today, the Museum is recognized as the principal museum of the Pacific, housing the world’s largest collection of Hawaiian and Pacific artifacts and natural history specimens. More than 340,000 people visit the
Museum each year, including over 40,000 schoolchildren. For more information, please call 808.847.3511 or visit www.bishopmuseum.org.