Founded by businessman and philanthropist Charles Reed Bishop in 1889, the museum was conceived as a memorial to his wife, Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, who had died five years earlier. Established at a time when there were fewer than one hundred major museums in the world, the museum was to be “a scientific institution for collecting, preserving, storing and exhibiting specimens of Polynesian and kindred antiquities, ethnology and natural history.” The initial collection included materials that previously were a part of the Hawaiian National Museum established by Kamehameha V in 1872, and the private collections of Queen Emma and Bernice Pauahi Bishop. Over the years much has been added, and the museum remains the foremost institution of its type in the Pacific. Sitting on a fifteen-acre parcel, several of the earlier Romanesque Revival–style buildings are of note.
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