We have a new exhibit at the Makawao History Museum, and it is indeed something to write about. In our tiny space we created a three part exhibit on the remarkable life of a Renaissance Woman active in our Upcountry community from the late 1800s to her passing in the mid 1960s.
Ethel Smith Baldwin was born into privilege as a granddaughter of Congregational missionaries who arrived in Hawaii in 1842. The Baldwins and Smiths carried a strong tradition in community service and leadership.
We titled the Exhibit "Never Idle" as a reflection of Ethel's remarkable life.
Ethel was a champion of Equality for All and she led the woman's suffrage movement on Maui, remaining in the movement until women gained the right to vote. She also took a leadership role in establishing old age pensions and child welfare laws.
Ethel was very active in many community groups on Maui including the Outdoor Circle. She was responsible for the planting of the gorgeous shower trees on Baldwin Ave, and established the Rainbow Park on Baldwin Ave.
A multi talented woman, Ethel was a musician and a prolific artist working in water colors, pastels and oils as well as ceramics and metalwork. Ethel took the lead in establishing our community art center known as the Hui No'eau Visual Art Center.
She also created a space for the service Personnel during the Second World War, organizing picnics and parties for the lonely servicemen. Under Ethel's watchful eye, the USO became an important and comforting center for servicemen and women stationed Upcountry.
Ethel Smith Baldwin's contributions were great and varied, the creation of the Kula Hospital was one, as well as her participation in the Girl Scouts and the Maui Humane Society.
Darrell Orwig and myself created our best exhibit yet. We had lots of help from Gail Ainsworth who wrote, "Maui Remembers" as well as Patt Narrow with the text layout. The great granddaughters of Ethel, Claire and Effie were also so very helpful in the gathering and loaning of artifacts. When creating this exhibit all of us involved would jokingly ask ourselves and each other, "Would Ethel Do it?" The answer was always, "Yes, she would go the extra mile!"
Aloha, a hui hou,