Oi Noke2017-10-05T11:19:18+00:00

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Oi Noke: A Continued Responsibility

Rosamond Purcell Photographs from 1991

Behind the scenes at Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum, teams of world-renowned scientists, scholars, and staff are dedicated to advancing research and preserving the natural and cultural history of Hawai‘i and the Pacific. We are stewards of over two million cultural objects and over twenty-two million biological specimens.


Hidden Wonders 1991: An Engagement Calendar Featuring the Pacific Collections of Bishop Museum, with photographs by Rosamond Purcell and text by Nelson Foster, was jointly published by the University of Hawaii Press and Bishop Museum Press, and won awards from the American Association of Museums and the Calendar Marketing Association.

In 1991, local book designer Barbara Pope invited Boston-based photographer Rosamond Purcell, sought after for her keen eye documenting the holdings of natural history museums, to produce images for a publication. For the project, Bishop Museum allowed Purcell access to its collection areas and storage vaults. The resulting calendar—a unique collaboration between the artist, designer and project coordinator Barbara Pope, noted writer Nelson Foster, and museum experts—celebrated the vital research that occurs within our walls, while also sounding an alarm for more ethnological and ecological conservation in the Pacific and across the globe.

This restaging of Purcell’s original photographs comes at a time when these concerns are just as pressing and Bishop Museum’s commitment to them just as steadfast. To prove the point, current Museum staff and researchers have updated Foster’s original text, noting taxonomical revisions, identifying newly endangered or extinct statuses, supplying new information, and continuing to refine how we care for the twenty-five million natural and the cultural objects and how we articulate just some of the stories we have the responsibility of telling.