Bishop Museum was founded in 1889 by Charles Reed Bishop in honor of his late wife, Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, the last descendant of the royal Kamehameha family. The Museum was established to house the extensive collection of Hawaiian objects and royal family heirlooms of the Princess, and has expanded to include millions of objects, documents and photographs about Hawai‘i and other Pacific island cultures.
Mr. Bishop built the magnificent Polynesian and Hawaiian Halls on the grounds of the original Kamehameha Schools for Boys. The Museum and School shared the Kapālama campus until 1940 when a new larger school complex was opened nearby on Kapālama Heights.
Today, Bishop Museum is the largest museum in the state and the premier natural and cultural history institution in the Pacific, recognized throughout the world for its cultural collections, research projects, consulting services and public educational programs. It also has one of the largest natural history specimen collections in the world. Serving and representing the interests of Native Hawaiians is a primary purpose of the Museum.
Mission: Bishop Museum inspires our community and visitors through the exploration and celebration of the extraordinary history, culture, and environment of Hawaiʻi and the Pacific.
Bishop Museum is delighted to welcome Melanie Y. Ide as its new president & chief executive officer effective January 8, 2018.
Melanie comes to the Museum with more than 27 years of experience in museum planning, design, and program development experience from her work as a principal of Ralph Appelbaum Associates (RAA), a multi-disciplinary, planning and design firm with active projects in over twenty countries. Typically working with institutions during major capital campaigns and periods of significant transformation, she has worked collaboratively with organizations to create entirely new institutions from the ground up, as well as re-envision museums that are more than 100 years old. An architect by training, she arrives with a passion for making change through design-thinking, creativity, innovation, and community engagement.
You may know Melanie from her wonderful work on the Hawaiian Hall and Pacific Hall restoration projects from 2005-2013. She also led development of an interpretive master plan for the Museum in 2014, and is deeply aware of the Museum’s collections, scholarship, and potential. Beyond her work with Bishop Museum, she has spent lots of time on O‘ahu and Hawai‘i Island, where her grandparents and parents were born and raised.
Melanie has worked with the Clinton Foundation, the Smithsonian Institution, the International African American Museum, the Japanese American National Museum, the New York Public Library, and the American Museum of Natural History. Most recently, through RAA, she has been leading the interpretive planning and exhibition design for the Obama Presidential Center in Chicago, Illinois, a project with which she will continue to be involved.
“I believe that Bishop Museum is an unparalleled resource for Hawaiian and Pacific cultures and environments, with immense untapped potential. It is uniquely positioned to explore and interpret the world through multiple forms of knowledge, rooted in both cultural and scientific practices. In addition to opening up new worlds to us, museums contribute to the making of place, culture, community and shared memory. I am honored and humbled by this opportunity to nurture, develop, and strengthen one of Hawai‘i’s most treasured resources,” says Melanie of her vision for Bishop Museum.
Melanie replaces Linda Lee Kuuleilani (Cissy) Farm, who has served as interim president & CEO since June 2016. The Museum wishes to express its deepest appreciation to Cissy for her outstanding leadership in setting the tone for this exciting next chapter. Please join us in welcoming Melanie to our ‘ohana!
Board of Directors
Danny K. Akaka
Community Director of Cultural Affairs
Mauna Lani Resort
Todd Apo [2nd Vice Chair]
Vice President of Community Development
The Howard Hughes Corporation
University of Hawaii – West Oahu
Senior VP Corporate Communications & Public
Affairs, Hawaiian Airlines, Inc.
Executive Director, Hawaii & Asia Pacific &
Director of Strategic Partnership for the Julie Ann
Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability at
Arizona State University
Allison Holt Gendreau
Community Leader & Philanthropist
Melanie Y. Ide
President and CEO
Timothy E. Johns
President & CEO
Zephyr Insurance Company Inc.
Dr. Patrick V. Kirch
Chancellor’s Professor Emeritus
UC Berkeley Department of Anthropology
Jen-L Lyman [Secretary]
Director of Philanthropic Partnerships
Hawai‘i Community Foundation
Kapiolani K. Marignoli
Community Leader & Philanthropist
Watters O. Martin, Jr.
Dolores Furtado Martin Foundation
Executive VP and Mortgage Banking Manager
Bank of Hawaii
Senior VP & Division Manager
First Hawaiian Bank
A&B Properties, Inc.
Wayne Pitluck [1st Vice Chair]
Pitluck, Kido & Aipa, LLP
William C.A. Pieper II [Chairman]
Rosemarie S.J. Sam, Esq.
Goodsill Anderson Quinn & Stifel
Senior Vice President, Public Affairs
Hawaiian Electric Company
CPA & Audits Managing Director
Deloitte & Touche LLP
Paul Turnbull, Ph.D.
Hanalei Commercial, Inc.
Senior Vice President, Center for Oceans