Bishop Museum’s Annual Online Fundraising Auction, E Ulu A PA’A is now open for bidding!
Register and bid now through August 28, at 8 pm HST.


Inspire The Next Generation

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.

Since Bishop Museum’s founding, bequests and other types of planned gifts have strengthened the Museum’s financial sustainability, providing vital support for world-class exhibitions, educational programs for all ages, and the care of our extraordinary collections.  Planned gifts help the Museum extend its mission well into the future to ensure that the traditional, cultural, and natural history of Hawai‘i is preserved and presented to inspire future generations and the larger world around us.

There are many ways to include Bishop Museum in your long-term plans that can benefit you and your loved ones, increase income, and reduce taxes, while fulfilling your charitable goals.  We encourage you to call us for a completely confidential conversation about your charitable desires.  There is no obligation to you and the conversation is an excellent way to help you hone your thoughts and wishes before calling your financial or legal advisor.

You may schedule a convenient meeting by calling the Development office at 808.847.8281, or send an email to

When you consider leaving a legacy at the Museum to ensure that our exhibits, collections, and research scientists can inspire, inform, and delight generations to come, your well-planned gift can support the Museum’s future, while helping you and your family achieve your financial goals, such as lowering your tax liability or providing an income source for life.

In addition to scheduling a meeting with us, you might like to receive our planned giving packet to review in the comfort of your home.  Please feel free to request one in confidence.


Complete the information below for your free copy of the Museum’s planned giving packet, which describes our planned giving program and membership in the Mary Kawena Pukui Society. This packet provides information about many tax-wise ways you can support the Museum’s future, while looking after your future income as well.

The Mary Kawena Pukui Society

Created in 2007 to recognize and honor donors who are supporting Bishop Museum through a bequest or other planned giving method, The Mary Kawena Pukui Society is open by invitation to those who remember Bishop Museum in their estate plans. 

The Society meets each year to gather like-minded supporters of the Museum and give them an opportunity to enjoy Bishop Museum and to learn of current work and future plans of the Museum.  If you have already included Bishop Museum in your estate plans or are considering such an inclusion, please call the Development office at 808.847.8281, or send an email to

Planned Giving Opportunities

The following types of gift techniques are popular with charity-minded people and may be applicable to your situation:

The most common and flexible type of planned gifts, a bequest through your will or living trust can be made in any amount. A bequest may allow you to make a significant gift to Bishop Museum without affecting your current finances. You may designate Bishop Museum as the recipient of a specific amount or a percentage.

Amending your will or living trust to include Bishop Museum in your estate plan is as easy as adding simple bequest language. [link to view sample language]

Making Bishop Museum a beneficiary of your retirement account is an easy, flexible, and tax-wise way to make a planned gift, and does not require changing your will or trust.  It can be as easy as having your retirement plan office send a beneficiary form which you can fill out and return to that office.  The charitable gift is not effective during your lifetime, making the assets in the account fully accessible for your use during your lifetime.  You can make a full or partial gift.  The gift can also be a primary or secondary gift, making this technique a flexible and easy way to fulfill your family and charitable desires.

If you are age 70½ or older, you may also qualify for an opportunity to transfer assets annually from your IRA to a charity, tax-free.

Naming Bishop Museum as a beneficiary of your life insurance is a simple way to leverage your policy into a meaningful gift. Alternatively, if you have reached a point where your life insurance is no longer needed as part of your estate plan, you can also choose to make the Museum the owner of your policy.

Beneficiary designations are among the easiest and most flexible ways to support Bishop Museum through your long-term plans, and typically do not require changing your will, trust, or other existing estate plan. In addition to your retirement or deferred compensation plan, many other types of financial accounts such as commercial annuities, and certificates of deposit, will allow you to name a beneficiary or to change the account structure to “payable on death” or “for the benefit of.”

Charitable gift annuities are as popular as they are easy to set up, and provide a safe, generous income as well as meaningful tax benefits. In exchange for your gift of cash or appreciated securities, the Museum will pay you and/or another beneficiary a guaranteed fixed income for life.  Usually, the older you are, the higher the guaranteed annual fixed income payment will be.

A charitable remainder trust is independently managed by you or your advisor, and pays you and/or another beneficiary income for life in exchange for your commitment to make a charitable gift. It can also provide a substantial income tax deduction, and can serve as an effective means of avoiding capital gains and estate taxes.

When you make a gift of appreciated securities, you could receive a double tax benefit—a charitable deduction and avoidance of capital gains tax.

A gift of a highly appreciated residence, vacation home, or investment property can be arranged to produce maximum tax benefits for you while providing meaningful support for Bishop Museum. The Museum can work with you and your advisor on a variety of gift structures, whether in your lifetime or as a bequest.  It’s also possible to continue living in your real estate after making the gift.

A charitable lead trust provides Bishop Museum with a reliable gift for a set number of years but retains the principal for you or your heirs. A lead trust is especially beneficial if you have a large estate and are concerned about gift and estate taxes. Removed from your estate, assets placed in a lead trust can be passed to loved ones untouched by these taxes.

Donor advised funds often provide the opportunity to make recommendations regarding the distribution of any remaining fund balance in the event of one’s death. You may be able to name Bishop Museum as beneficiary or to recommend future distributions to the Museum. Your fund administrator can provide more information.

What a Gift Says About You

When you make the important decision to leave a gift to Bishop Museum in your will or living trust, you demonstrate your commitment to our work and mission to inspire our community and visitors through the exploration and celebration of the extraordinary history, culture, and environment of Hawai‘i and the Pacific. A legacy gift shows your willingness to invest in our scientific endeavors involving some of the only collections of their kind anywhere in the world, and you know that your thoughtfulness and generosity now will be transformational for future generations who visit, enjoy, and learn about the incredible heritage of Bishop Museum.

The Benefits of Charitable Planning

For many people, a will or living trust may be sufficient for their estate planning purposes.  When you make a will or living trust, or amend one that you have already created, and specify those loved ones you wish to remember as well as the charitable causes that are important to you, you ensure that your assets will be distributed according to your wishes. We agree that your family comes first.  Afterwards, your charitable interests can be developed as you like.  While many people assume that their children or attorney will remember what causes they gave to during their lifetimes and continue those gifts, there is no guarantee this will happen. The only way to make sure that the organizations whose values you share, such as Bishop Museum, will receive what you intend to give, is to detail your gift in writing in your will or living trust. While your gift and your estate plans are private and entirely up to you, please remember that if you let us know that you’ve made a gift to the Museum, we will be able to introduce you to the Mary Kawena Pukui Society, and it will help us plan our future research, field work, exhibits, and educational programs.


Planned giving information on this site is not intended as legal advice.  We encourage you to consult with your financial advisor, attorney, or other trusted professionals to know if a giving option is right for you.

Be a Part of Our Story

Celebrate the extraordinary history, culture, and environment of Hawaiʻi and the Pacific with a gift to Bishop Museum. As a partner in the Museum’s work, you can help to sustain vital collections, research, and knowledge, and inspire exploration and discovery with a tax-deductible donation.

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