On View

February 20 – October 24, 2021

(Re)Generations:

Challenging Scientific Racism in Hawaiʻi

February 20 – October 24, 2021

(Re)Generations:

Challenging Scientific Racism in Hawaiʻi

February 20 – October 24, 2021

Explore how the Sullivan Collection, despite its problematic racist origins, has taken on new life as one of the Museum’s primary sources for genealogical research, and as a vehicle for rediscovering ancestors and genealogical connections.

On View

Museum Hours

Open Every Day
9 am – 5 pm

Ages

All Ages

Location

J.M. Long Gallery

Admission

Members: Free
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.

A very early photo of two surfers at Waikīkī, from about 1895. (Bishop Museum Archives)
John John Florence at the 2013 Eddie Invitational, holding the board he would win the contest with in 2016. The board will be on display at Bishop Museum during the run of the exhibit. (Right Frame Photography)
Duke Kahanamoku and the massive hollow board he built for himself at Waikiki, ca. 1935. (Tai Sing Loo, Bishop Museum Archives)
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A very early photo of two surfers at Waikīkī, from about 1895. (Bishop Museum Archives)
John John Florence at the 2013 Eddie Invitational, holding the board he would win the contest with in 2016. The board will be on display at Bishop Museum during the run of the exhibit. (Right Frame Photography)
Duke Kahanamoku and the massive hollow board he built for himself at Waikiki, ca. 1935. (Tai Sing Loo, Bishop Museum Archives)
Previous
Next

(Re)Generations: Challenging Scientific Racism in Hawaiʻi explores a collection of photographs and plaster busts created by anthropologist Louis R. Sullivan as a tool to measure and classify the physical traits of a supposedly “pure” Native Hawaiian race. The collection was presented at the Second International Eugenics Conference (1921) with Bishop Museum’s endorsement and support. Measuring, classifying, and categorizing people through “race science” has been used to justify slavery, displacement, colonial occupation, eugenics, and genocide. We know that there is no biological truth to race, and research like Sullivan’s is now long discredited. Yet the myths of race and racial superiority, and the structural inequalities they support, have lasting and traumatic effects.

Though Sullivan’s photographs and busts are tied to a legacy of scientific racism, the collection has become one of Bishop Museum’s primary sources for genealogical research in Hawaiʻi. (Re)Generations aims to celebrate the ways this collection has been reappropriated by Native Hawaiian descendants as a vehicle for (re)discovering ancestors, genealogical connections, and family. Photographs of persons celebrated in the exhibit were selected through collaboration with their living descendants. Photographs and busts are recontextualized outside of Sullivan’s eugenics research through meaningful histories, including the additions of descendant interviews and family heirlooms, which offer a glimpse into these people’s lives and legacies.

Our hope is that this exhibit is not an end in itself, but rather aims to start conversations on how the Museum can better connect with and serve Native Hawaiian communities and stakeholders.

Contributing Sponsors
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Media Sponsor
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Hospitality Sponsor
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Cover image:

Lameka Hoʻolapa by Louis R. Sullivan, 1920–1921, and Annemarie Aweau Paikai, his great-great-granddaughter, by Sheika Alghezawi, 2021.