Visit the fantastic Kauai Museum to explore Kauai’s rich and fascinating history!
History of the Museum
Since 1960, this museum has been open to the public, originated by Juliet Rice Wichman and Dora Jane Isenberg Cole in 1954. Through hard work and determination, these women raised funds for a new building near the Wilcox library, and Kenneth Roerig led the architecture of the museum. Mrs. Wichman and Mrs. Cole stayed as Director and Manager of the museum afterwards. The current Executive Director is Chucky Boy Chock, an O’ahu native who has lived in Kauai for over 30 years. He juggles the roles of business owner, musician, minister, and since 2017, museum director.
Focus of the Museum
Kauai Museum is dedicated to telling untold stories and displaying the legacies of Hawaiian royalty. The museum has shifted from showing plantation history to a focus on native Hawaiian stories. The museum’s main gallery is an exhibit telling the story of Hawaii’s last king, Kaumuali’i. This story is told through original artifacts– Ni‘ihau shell lei, wooden bowls, kapa cloth, poi pounders, and even items belonging to Hawaiian royalty. It is also displayed through beautiful paintings, particularly a vast collection by Evelyn Ritter. Chock, executive director, has conducted many tours and shared his deep knowledge of the history of Kaumuali’i’s reign. Besides the main gallery, the museum features the William Hyde Rice Building, which is full of exhibits showcasing Kauai’s history, particularly the plantation era. The exhibits display plantation workers and owners, war tales, the contributions from missionaries, surfing culture, and a look at the natural side of the island, detailing Kauai flora and fauna and the science behind this incredible island.
Visiting the Museum
Located in a lava rock structure on Rice Street in Lihue, the Kauai Museum is open Monday through Thursday from 9am to 2pm. General admission is $15, and an annual membership starts at $50. Please check before you go, as times and prices may change. Consider visiting this wonderful museum to discover more about Kauai’s history and celebrate Hawaiian culture.