Sunday, May 16, 2010

Mission Houses Museum

In downtown Oahu you will find the Mission Houses Museum.

We took a trip there this past week to check it out. I've read a lot about the first missionaries to the islands and I wanted to learn more about them.

The missionary museum is made up of several buildings used by the first missionaries to Hawaii. In the beginning, they lived in thatched huts but after a few years, they were able to build New England style houses. Unfortunately, New England style houses had small windows to keep out the cold New England winters and short eaves to prevent cracking under loads of snow. Somehow they did not realize this wouldn't be a major issue in Hawaii. Their thatched huts were probably much cooler and more comfortable, but you know, sometimes it's hard to give up the idea of what's "proper".

One of the buildings is made completely of wood and is the oldest wood frame structure on the island. Hawaii's first missionary, Hiram Bingham resided here with his family.

There is also a building which was built ten years later which was made of local materials - coral blocks cut from reefs and boards salvaged from ships. The kids in our group were fascinated by the door on the second floor. We though there must have been a staircase there at one time but it turns out that was the door to which the missionaries would hoist their supplies. After climbing the very tiny staircase inside, it's easy to understand why they couldn't just carry supplies to the second floor.

The kids got the chance to write with feather quills.

And see how the students at the mission school worked.

The missionaries even had their own printing press on which they printed the first schoolbooks an Bibles in the Hawaiian language.

The kids also got to play games that the missionary children would have played back in the days before television and Internet.

The game "Graces" was the same one our kids played at Mt Vernon when we visited there. It was designed to make girls look graceful. I wonder if Hawaiian children saw any point in trying to look graceful while tossing hoops about. Emily demonstrated this gracefulness admirably.

Even Kerry gained some grace.

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