“E Ho‘ohanohano a E Ho‘omau. . . To Honor and To Perpetuate"

Press Release September 25, 2014

Kalaupapa Photo Exhibit opens at Molokai Museum & Cultural Center, Saturday, September 27, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

KALAE – “A Reflection of Kalaupapa: Past, Present and Future,” an exhibit of about 100 photographs of Kalaupapa and her people will open at the Molokai Museum & Cultural Center in Kalae on Saturday, September 27, with a blessing at 10 a.m.

Opening day festivities will run through 2 p.m. The museum will waive entry fees on that day only. The public is invited. The exhibit will be on display at the museum through August, 29, 2015.

The exhibit was produced by Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa, a nonprofit organization that includes Kalaupapa residents, family members/descendants and friends of the community. The show recently wrapped up a month at Paschoal Hall in Kalaupapa where it drew 572 visitors – an astonishing number for such a small community. The exhibit was popular not only with visitors on Damien Tours, but also among residents, staff and overnight visitors or volunteers in the settlement.

“It was wonderful to see the enthusiasm from so many people who wanted to view the exhibit,” said ‘Ohana President Boogie Kahilihiwa, who has lived at Kalaupapa for more than 50 years and is one of those whose photograph is featured. “We hope the people on topside (Molokai) are just as interested in seeing our exhibit – they will probably see pictures of old friends and learn about other people they have only heard about.”

Danny Hashimoto pauses as he delivers the community’s mail and newspapers, 1985. Photo by Wayne Levin.

Many of the photos were taken by acclaimed photographer Wayne Levin who began visiting Kalaupapa in 1984. Levin will be on hand for the opening as will others who have strong ties to Kalaupapa.

Noelani Meyer Keliikipi, the Executive Director of the Molokai Museum & Cultural Center, is excited to have the Kalaupapa exhibit on display for such a long period of time. It is hoped that school groups – especially Hawaiian history classes – and kupuna organizations can make special trips to learn more about the history of Kalaupapa and the people who helped to create that history.

The exhibit is being dedicated to the late Sarah Miala Meyer Kaopuiki Benjamin whose childhood home is located next door to the museum, the former Meyer Sugar Mill. Sarah – known as Miala when she was growing up – was sent to Kalaupapa In 1942 after she was diagnosed with leprosy (also called Hansen’s disease). She became a second mother to many of the youngsters who were taken from their families and isolated at Kalaupapa. She was also a leader in Kanaana Hou Church and was respected for her knowledge of Hawaiian traditions, the language and medicinal plants. Sarah is buried near the museum in the Meyer Family Cemetery where the opening ceremonies on Saturday will begin.

“It’s especially fitting that this exhibit is here because of our close connection to Aunty Miala,” said Keliikipi, the great-niece of Sarah. “We’re pleased to be able to honor all the people of Kalaupapa and their families with this exhibit.”

The ‘Ohana has also produced a new 10-minute video to introduce exhibit visitors to the people of Kalaupapa. Visitors will also be given an exhibit guide at no cost – the guide contains more information about the history of Kalaupapa based on the words of the people themselves.

For more information, call the Molokai Museum & Cultural Center at 567-6436.

Copyright © 2014. Ka Ohana O Kalaupapa. All rights reserved.