Rapa Nui: The Untold Stories of Easter Island

Museum Hours

Open Every Day

9 AM – 5 PM

Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas Day


All Ages


Castle Building


Adults: $24.95

Seniors (65+): $21.95

Youth (4–17): $16.95

Children (3 and under): Free

Children age 16 and younger must be accompanied by an adult.


Nov. 3, 2018–May 5, 2019

In Partnership

Hawaii International Film Festival Promotion

Interviews with Dr. Mara Mulrooney

Design Talk Hawaii – 60 min.

HI Now Coverage

Rapa Nui: The Untold Stories of Easter Island

On display in the Castle Memorial Building from Nov. 3, 2018–May 5, 2019

Bishop Museum presents a new exhibit that delves into the wonders of Rapa Nui, or Easter Island. Showcasing Bishop Museum’s extensive cultural and natural science collections from the island, Rapa Nui: The Untold Stories of Easter Island draws from recent studies conducted by Bishop Museum researchers and collaborators to highlight some lesser-known stories about the island. More than 150 cultural treasures and never-before-seen biological specimens from the museum’s collections will be on display together for the first time in the museum’s history.

Moai viʻe (female figure). Bishop Museum Ethnology Collections, object no. 05953.
Photo by Jesse W. Stephen, copyright © Bishop Museum

The exhibit is on display in the Castle Memorial Building from Nov. 3, 2018–May 5, 2019, and is joined by a complementary exhibit Ka U‘i: Contemporary Art from Rapa Nui, curated by Macarena Oñate and featuring works by eight Rapa Nui-based artists who explore Rapanui identity, politics, the environment, and ancient art forms through contemporary media including sculpture, photography and painting.

The Rapa Nui: The Untold Stories of Easter Island allows visitors to go beyond the world-famous moai (carved stone statues) to learn about the unique environment of Rapa Nui, the island’s history, and about how the island community is striving for sustainability in a global context. Visitors are able to learn about the new marine protected area that was recently established to protect and preserve Rapa Nui’s unique ocean environment, and where Bishop Museum scientists have and continue to carry out extensive research. These waters are home to a high number of fish species that are endemic to Rapa Nui, meaning they are found nowhere else in the world. The endemism in Rapa Nui waters is second only to Hawai‘i, and visitors to the exhibit come face-to-face with specimens of endemic species of fish from the museum’s ichthyology collections. The exhibit includes specimens that were discovered and described by Bishop Museum ichthyologist Dr. John E. Randall in collaboration with his Chilean colleague Dr. Alfredo Cea, each with its own story to tell.

Maŋai ma‘ea, stone fishhook
Bishop Museum Ethnology Collections
Stone fishhooks, or maŋai ma‘ea, were worn as pendants on Rapa Nui. It is unknown whether these large hooks were ever actually used for fishing.
Photo by Jesse W. Stephen, copyright © Bishop Museum

Woman with takona (body painting).
Photo by Mokomae, one of eight featured artists in the “Ka U‘i: Contemporary Art from Rapa Nui” exhibition

Mahalo to contributing sponsor: Matson

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