Saturday, February 11, 2012

Dear Kauai Museum,

 You know, 50 years is something to be proud of. What a wonderful collection of artifacts, artwork, and history you've acquired! Here's the thing though--being 50 means you're old enough to really work it? Ya know? If you needed someone to say it--here it is: It's time to be great.

I give you permission to really go all out.

The entrance can be a real entrance. It's okay! You don't have to guess about who's Kama'aina, or who is just going to the gift shop. Move your desk. We can line up, sign the guest book, get excited about the exhibits, without accidentally spying them all before we even pay to look. Make it official. It's time.

Give us something to connect to. So many gods and goddesses, and royalty of Hawai'i---we're dying for their stories! Why not put up a poster of a famous story about Pele, next to this compelling portrait. Have a display explaining the reign of kings and queens of the islands, instead of your patrons looking at them, shuffling past wondering how to pronounce that word.

Ohhhhh the quilts! Isn't it time they get their own real exhibit? Instead of being placed up on the stairs? Maybe you just ran out of space, but wouldn't it be great to tell the stories of the quilts? The meaning behind all the patterns? What does a breadfruit represent? What about a anthurium? Can we get pictures of tutus sewing them? How long does it take? Who started this tradition? We could talk story about that for ages!

I commend you on your WWII exhibit, but I'm sad it's so far away, behind the Hawaiian/Victorian era. 

 The lovely case full of artifacts lining the balcony is intriguing, but so mysterious. What ARE these weapons, and medals, and dolls?
 These amazing 40's tourist pictures made me want to cry when I saw them in their case. I wanted to blow each of them up to poster size!

  How about some commentary about the idea of 'pagan' Hawaiian and the tourist trade? More of the  Coco Palms resort story? Why is it a ghostly rundown shack now? What happened to the exploitation of the swishy grass skirts and the twangy ukulele through films and music? What's with the 1950s movie loop of the lei-day parade upstairs?

Happy 50th guys. I mean it. That's awesome.

And if I ask really, really nicely--can I please work for you?

-Aloha from a presumptuous museum freak. 


Anonymous said...

I love this post for so many, many, different reasons. If they don't hire you, they're just plain crazy.

Karlberg Fam said...

You should work for them! You have so many good ideas!!!