LELE O NĀ MANU: HAWAIIAN FOREST BIRDS
Exhibit spotlights the rich heritage of endangered native birds

Honolulu, HI – The Hawaiian Islands are home to a number of native bird species found nowhere else on earth. Bishop Museum’s newest original exhibit takes visitors soaring through the science and cultural significance of these magnificent creatures in Lele O Nā Manu: Hawaiian Forest Birds, on display March 19 – July 31, 2016. The primary objective of Lele O Nā Manu is to educate the public about the rich and diverse natural history of native Hawaiian forest birds, their preeminence in traditional Hawaiian culture, their direct connection to the health of native forests and the dire need for their conservation.

The J.M. Long gallery in Hawaiian Hall will be transformed with a vibrant array of displays brought to life with the world-premiere of a taxidermy collection of Hawaiian forest birds. Many of the species showcased are extinct, offering a rare opportunity for the public to see these birds and reflect on their cultural significance. As one moves through the exhibit, a rich cultural heritage is revealed: native Hawaiians named most of the native bird species, and some birds were considered ‘aumākua (personal guardians) in Hawaiian culture. Traditionally, Hawaiians resourced different birds for a variety of uses. The ‘elepaio, for example, assisted canoe builders by revealing a rotten tree that would not be good for a canoe hull, and the feathers of the ‘i‘iwi and other birds were highly-prized as a form of payment for taxes. Their feathers would be used to make kāhili (royal standards), ‘ahu ‘ula (cloaks), mahiole (helmets), and other royal objects that served as symbols of mana (power) belonging to the Ali‘i.

 

Interactive features will illuminate the stories of these treasured creatures, as visitors take a birds’-eye perspective and soar above a native forest with virtual goggles. Families will enjoy “‘Elepaio: Circle of  Life,” a Chutes and Ladders-type board game aimed at helping the small bird overcome threats and continue into the next generation. In “Native or Not?” visitors can test their knowledge of local versus alien birds. In addition, visitors can coo their best bird call at a hands-on station alongside a virtual kapilimanu (Hawaiian bird hunter). The sound will be recorded and the kapilimanu will score how well the visitor imitates that particular bird.

Before Polynesians arrived in Hawai‘i, the islands were home to more than 110 species of birds found nowhere else on Earth. Today, that number has dwindled to an alarmingly low 48 species. There is a small window of time in which scientists, legislators, and the public have to act. While scientists throughout the state have been working for decades to save these threatened species, they are in desperate need of funding and public support for upcoming initiatives designed to halt or even reverse the mass extinction event currently taking place. “The goal of this exhibit is to educate people about the tremendous cultural and natural resource of these unique creatures and to instill a call to action to help save the remaining species before they are lost forever,” said Blair Collis, president and CEO of Bishop Museum. To do this, Bishop Museum has collaborated with multiple organizations such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, San Diego Zoo, Kaua‘i Forest Bird Recovery Project, Maui Forest Bird Recovery Project, Hawaii Endangered Bird Conservation Program, Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge, Lyon Arboretum, and Jack Jeffrey of Jack Jeffrey Photography.

Come see Lele O Nā Manu not only to learn about the past, present, and future of Hawai‘i’s forest birds, but also to see what you can do to help keep more native birds from becoming extinct.

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Bishop Museum Admission & Hours
General Admission:
Adults – $22.95
Youth (4-12) – $14.95
Seniors (65+) – $19.95

Hawai’i residents and Military with ID:
Adults – $14.95
Youth (4-12) – $10.95
Seniors (65+) – $12.95

Bishop Museum members and children age three and younger are always free. Children age 16 and younger must be accompanied by an adult.

Hours
Open every day from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas

About Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum

The Bishop Museum was founded in 1889 by Charles Reed Bishop in memory of his wife
Bernice Pauahi Bishop, the last direct descendant of King Kamehameha I. Bishop Museum is proud to be recognized as the principal museum of the Pacific, housing the world’s largest collection of Hawaiian and Pacific artifacts and natural history specimens. More than 300,000 people visit the Museum each year, including over 40,000 schoolchildren. For more information, please visit www.bishopmuseum.org, follow @BishopMuseum on Twitter and Instagram, become a fan of Bishop Museum on Facebook, visit Bishop Museum’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/BishopMuseum, or call 808.847.3511.

Press Contacts

If you are a journalist and would like to receive Museum press releases, would like to coordinate a media visit to the Museum, and or would like to coordinate an interview with a Museum spokesperson, please contact Lance Aquino at lance@strykerweiner.com

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