Collections 2017-2019: Lāna‘i Curatorial & Cultural Literacy

Project Sponsored by State of Hawai‘i — Grant-In-Aid Program (GIA)

Office of Community Services, Department of Labor and Industrial Relations Contract Number: OCS-GIA-18-01 

The Grant-In-Aid (OCS-GIA-18-01) awarded to the Lāna‘i Culture & Heritage Center in late 2017 supported three program goals, listed below:


  • Expand curatorial facility and climate control capacity forarchives
  • Implement program for archival management of historical records, contract with Professional Archivist, and develop finding aide/record indices
  • Planning and development of resource documents for Summer 2018 Cultural Literacy Camp 

Archival Program Background

Lāna‘i CHC contracted certified archivist Helen Wong Smith to conduct activities in conservation and collection arrangement. She engaged 30 community members in various workshops through the grant period and developed a best management practices policy for existing collections and new accessions. Several community presentations were also offered to Lāna‘i residents, sharing preservation methods for their own family collections. Pamela Pili Alconcel, a community member and founding board member, participated in a weeklong workshop offered by the Western Archives Institute in archival skills.

Working with Lāna‘i CHC staff and volunteers, Helen Smith conducted a survey of the archival collection. As a result of the survey, collection categories were updated, and new captions were established to facilitate identification and retrieval of records. The categories (in alphabetical order) include:


  • Archaeology – Reports and related material of surveys.
  • Art – All formats of expression, two- and three-dimensional works. Includes representation of Native Hawaiian artifacts made in modern times.
  • Castle & Cooke, 1992-2012 – Records generated by this company and activities they were responsible for.
  • Civic – Includes community and church records and artifacts.
  • Government – Material created by or for government entities, including schools, agencies, and review boards.
  • Indigenous – Artifacts resulting from Native Hawaiian culture and activities. 
  • Loans – Items on loan to Lāna‘i CHC. 
  • Manuscript - Although manuscript literally means handwritten, “manuscript collection” is often used to include collections of mixed media in which unpublished materials predominate. They may also include typescripts, photographs, diaries, scrapbooks, news clippings, and printed works. Here it represents personal collections.
  • Plantation, 1922- 1992Materials of companies engaged in large-scale agriculture activities (e.g. Hawaiian Pineapple Company, Ltd. and Castle and Cooke). Includes formats, photoprints, maps, artifacts not belonging to private individuals.
  • Pūlama Lāna‘i, 2012 – Records generated by this company and activities they are responsible for; also includes historical manuscripts and items of previous land owners transferred with sale of the island.
  • Published - Books, newspapers, newsletters, pamphlets not associated with a specific group or entity.
  • Ranching, 1875-1951 – Records and artifacts from or covering these years. Includes material from/on Walter Murray Gibson, Gay Family, Irwin, Lanai Ranch Company, Munro, and Baldwin.

Collection Volunteers

Throughout the grant period, many people have volunteered to assist with some facet of collection management and inputting data. Notably, the individuals named below have spent countless hours working in the collections.

Pam Pili Alconcel

Max Becker

Debbie Dela Cruz

Dean Del Rosario

Lisa Grove

Diane Puni Preza

Shelly Kaleialoha Preza

Kepā Maly

Onaona Maly

Albert Mortia

Warren Osako

Ben Ostrander

Anthony Ka‘auamo Pacheco

Carol Snow

U‘ilani Stokes

Archive collections

During the grant period, additional archival storage space was given to the Lāna‘i CHC by Pūlama Lāna‘i, and a new H-Vac/Climate Control System was installed in the archives. As a result of the addition of space and updating of collection categories, the entire collection of Lāna‘i CHC was reorganized, and many objects were rehoused in archival-safe storage materials.

New accessions also continued to be added to collection during the grant period, and include, but are not limited to:

  • 22 boxes from the 1987-1988 Kalaehī UH Archaeological Field School Studies
  • 20 boxes from the 1989-1991 Hulopoʻe Field Archaeological Inventory Surveys
  • 7 boxes from the Kō‘ele and Lāna‘i Rural District Field Archaeological Inventory Surveys
  • 3,000+ historic photos have been scanned and accession/call numbers assigned
  • 190 Plantation Land Survey Books covering the 1920s to 1950s
  • Indigenous artifacts 
  • Plantation family memorabilia.

Following much work and review, PastPerfect Collections Software was purchased to establish a uniform indices of collections. More than 22,532 records were input to the new museum software. Development of the collections indices is ongoing. 

Examples of the kinds of records and resources housed in the Lāna‘i CHC collections, may be found in the temporary indexes (searchable PDF documents) — covering more than 30,200 entries — available through the links.



Cultural literacy initiatives

  1. ‘Āina- or Place- based curricula are effective tools for engaging students and making learning relevant. Studies show that place-based activities and education positively impact a young person’s socio-emotional wellbeing, which in turn has a positive impact on their experiences in what is known as “traditional” education. The ‘Āina-based approach to education is also culture-based education. For Hawaiians and many other people, culture is a direct reflection of the living environment from which the people grew. The ‘āina-based education approach increases Hawaiian cultural affiliation, civic engagement and stronger relationships between youth, teachers, families, and their communities (cf. Kana‘iaupuni, Ledward, Jensen, 2010).


Since 2007, the Lāna‘i Culture & Heritage Center (CHC) has been engaged in sharing the biocultural legacy of Lāna‘i with island students, the community at large, and guests to the island. The first efforts in providing curriculum resource materials to Lāna‘i High & Elementary School (LHES) teachers was the result of a collaboration between Martha Haia Evans (then Vice Principal at the school) and Kepā Maly. In 2011, Lāna‘i CHC developed a fund to foster place-based/cultural literacy learning initiatives on Lāna‘i and received a three-year grant through the U.S. Department of Education-Native Hawaiian Education Act to implement programs. At the close of the grant in 2015, Lāna‘i CHC continued offering cultural literacy programs and developing curricula resource documents with the help of funding partners. 

In 2017, Lāna‘i CHC received a two-year grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)Bay Watershed Education and Training Program-Hawai‘i (Grant No. NA17NOS4730195), to develop project-based learning opportunities as a part of an initiative to restore Waia‘ōpae Loko I‘a (Fishpond). The initiative included development of curricula that integrated the natural and cultural history of Lāna‘i into learning experiences for LHES students. We are committed to programs that promote awareness of the natural and cultural history of Lāna‘i and prepare future generations of students to become leaders in island stewardship.

As a part of the GIA program, the 2018 summer program engaged 17 participants. Nine students engaged in curatorial and research programs during the school year, and 149 students participated classroom and field programs engaging in natural- and cultural-landscape programs as part of the growing cultural literacy initiative at Lāna‘i High & Elementary School. With additional funding support from NOAA, the summer program has been carried on throughout the reporting period, and a place-based curricula for 4th, 7th and 10th grades has been developed.

From June 10 – June 21, 2019, nearly 70 haumāna (students), ages 8 to 17 engaged in museum research, and field and classroom studies activities across the island of Lāna‘i. At the closing hō‘ike on June 21st, haumāna from Lāna‘i and Hilo (Hui Ho‘oleimaluō) developed hō‘ike presentations after learning through the Design Thinking process. They identified cultural landscape issues, why these issues are important to the future of Lāna’i and offered suggestions on how they might be solved. More than 65 community members and younger students gathered together to learn about the 2019 E ‘Ike Hou Iā Lāna’i experiences and recommendations for good stewardship in the future. Funding for the 2019 cultural literacy initiative came from the Legislative Grant In-Aid No. OCS-GIA-18-01; Kamehameha Schools-Community Investing Program, NOAA B-WET Grant No. NA17NOS4730195, and the Lāna‘i Culture & Heritage Center (visit for more information).

Pūlama Lāna‘i – Land Ownership Support

Since 2013, Pūlama Lāna‘i, has supported all cultural literacy and place-based education initiatives making program sites accessible, providing transportation, with resource staff, funding supplies, through matching in-kind grants, and in all facets of program implementation. Pūlama Lāna‘i sees recognizes the value in this initiative as a way of building community capacity for stewardship and future leadership.