“Aunty Pat” Bacon Marks 50 Years At Bishop Museum

Honolulu, HI –  Bishop Museum tomorrow will recognize staff members who are celebrating their employment anniversaries.  Among them is renowned educator, advisor, and Hawaiian culture specialist Patience Namakauahoaokawenaulaokalaniikiikikalaninui Bacon; who is affectionately known as “Aunty Pat.”

President & CEO Timothy Johns said, “Aunty Pat is beloved by those in the Hawaiian community and beyond because of her commitment to the preservation of the Hawaiian culture, language, and traditions.  We are so fortunate to have her continue sharing her mana‘o here at Bishop Museum.” 

This year, Aunty Pat officially marks 50 years of employment at Bishop Museum.  But her time at the museum dates back several years before being on the payroll.  As a child, she accompanied her hānai mother, the late Hawaiian scholar Mary Kawena Pukui, to the museum where Pukui worked on recording oral histories and translating manuscripts.

“At that time, Bishop Hall was still the Kamehameha School for boys,” noted Aunty Pat.  “And Lahilahi Webb, Queen Liliuokalani’s last lady-in-waiting, worked at the front desk of Bishop Museum.”

In 1939, Aunty Pat was officially hired as a switchboard operator at the age of nineteen.  “There was only one line and only 12 extensions.  I would also help out by selling postcards and museum publications,” she said.

She left the museum in 1945 to start a family then returned in 1959.  She worked as a secretary in the anthropology department until the 90s when she transferred to the archives department.

Now, at the age of 90, Aunty Pat continues her time at Bishop Museum as its Senior Cultural Advisor.  

In 2004, Bishop Museum recognized Aunty Pat with the Robert J. Pfeiffer Medal for her dedication to the advancement of Hawaii’s cultural heritage.  Today, many students and kumu hula continue to seek Aunty Pat for advice.  She has a reputation for being a tough judge at hula competitions.  “Friend or no friend, I judge each group the same,” Aunty Pat said.

Of all of the lessons that she has provided, Aunty Pat’s dedication to the Hawaiian way is essential to what she does and what she shares with others.

Aunty Pat stated, “I always tell people love one another.  If someone needs kokua, put down what you’re doing and help them.  But always do this with a clean heart – never expect anything in return.”

Tomorrow, March 26, 2010, Bishop Museum will hold its annual Employee Recognition Luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Atherton Halau.  Twenty-one employees will be honored along with Aunty Pat for their service.

Museum hours are 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; closed on Tuesdays and Christmas Day.  To learn more about Bishop Museum’s exhibits, programs, and activities, please visit www.bishopmuseum.org or call (808) 847-3511.


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