A wonderful new addition has come to Makawao Town. It took A Village and 15 days to create the Makwao History Project.
We got the keys to the space on Nov 1st, spent a full day of cleaning, and went to work painting the space the next day with a hard working core group of volunteers . We were ready to begin the creation, gathering, and installation of the new museum on the 3rd of Nov.
I had the privilege of doing the installation with Darrell Orwig. Darrell was the Gallery Director of the Schaefer Gallery at Maui Arts and Cultural Center for many years. In the art community of Maui, Darrell is held in highest regard.
I laid out what I thought to be the most important areas to consider for the history of our community. The sections I wanted to see highlighted were, Makawao Town, Schools and Churches, Island Cultures, Pineapple and Plantations, Paniolo and Ranching. Darrell had the great idea to designate areas with graphic silhouettes which he drew and painted. He and I worked well together, and I felt so privileged to work with such an artistic ,creative , funny and experienced person. I made a friend for life.
We also asked local artist Debrya Fair to create vintage signs for each area.
Then, I spent a few days gathering memorabilia from the A and B Sugar Museum, my own home, Hale Ho'okipa Inn Makawao, and other private lenders.
Eddie Flotte, my favorite Maui water color artist donated a series of his renditions of the old buildings of Makawao. We also counted on the community coming forward with their treasures, and they did. Once we had the goods, we had one whole week to design and install!!! Others were busy planning the opening party,sending out invitations and researching all the memorabilia and donated photos.
Someone asked me why I was committing my time and energy to this project. I had some vague notions, but, it became crystal clear on our Grand Opening night.
An older gentleman was one of hundreds who came to our Grand Opening. I was touring a friend around and we were in the Schools and Churches section. This elder fellow was taking digital photos of a very old Makawao School pamphlet. I asked him if those were his classmates, and he quietly replied, "No, it's my Sister." Tears sprung to my eyes and I felt humbled and satisfied .I instantly knew why I had invested so much in this project.
Our own Cowgirl Hall of Fame resident came into the History project a few times with her treasures. They included a photo of her beloved husband, his bio and his well worn cowboy hat. Other elders have stopped by with their family and friends to hang out and talk story, and share their memories. One woman had tears in her eyes, she was sad that so much had changed, but she was delighted to visit the Makawao History Project to see old photos and old friends.
There are still so many untold stories. Our Living Treasures will not be around forever, and they have so much to share. We have enough funding to stay open until Dec 31st. I hope we can make it through our busy season until the end of Feb, so that many of our Upcountry visitors are also able to enjoy the museum. If anyone wants to make a donation, please let me know, and I will happily give further details. We are staffed by volunteers, but, we need more rent $ and other expenses to keep our doors open. Lots more photos are available on our Makawao History Project Facebook page, and a website is also being created now. For those who read the Maui news online, more info is available in this article.
Check out our new video that is on Maui Akaku community television :video It's a great video with interviews and our Grand Opening.
To give back to your community is a great joy. I am so very honored to have been a part of this Village, Makawao Town, my town.