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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Programs & Tours

Join us as we host a series of related programs focusing on the issues presented in the exhibition. Register for these programs using the calendar listing below. Dates for these programs are March 25, April 15, July 8, August 12, September 16.

The (Re)Generations Program Series is generously supported by McInerny Foundation, Bank of Hawaii, Trustee.

Bishop Museum Institutional History and Responsibility
Panel Presentation
Thursday, July 8, 2021
6:00 – 7:30 p.m. HST, Virtual Event
Free with preregistration

The “Polynesian Problem”: Louis Sullivan’s Search for the “Pure Polynesian Type” 
With Maile Arvin, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of History and Gender Studies, University of Utah
Thursday, August 12, 2021
6:00 – 7:30 p.m. HST, Virtual Event
Free with preregistration

Digital Curation of Cultural Heritage
Panel Presentation
Thursday, September 16, 2021
6:00 – 7:30 p.m. HST, Virtual Event
Free with preregistration

Missed a live program, or looking to share these programs with others? Find links to our past program recordings below:

Introduction to (Re)Generations: Challenging Scientific Racism in Hawaiʻi 
with Exhibit Co-Curators: Dr. Keolu Fox, Department of Anthropology and Global Health, University of California, San Diego, and Dr. Jillian A. Swift, Curator of Archaeology at Bishop Museum

Recorded March 25, 2021

View Program Video > >
Program Evaluation Form >>

Unfit for A Queen: National Identity and the Eugenics For Young
People
Curriculum at Kamehameha School
Featuring K. ‘Ilima Long, Native Hawaiian Student Services Faculty Specialist, Hawai‘inuiākea, School of Hawaiian Knowledge

Recorded April 15, 2021

View Program Video > >

Benefactor, Visionary, Stewardship Circle, and Lifetime members and guests are invited to an exclusive in-person tour of (Re)Generations: Challenging Scientific Racism in Hawaiʻi with exhibit co-curators Dr. Jillian Swift, Curator of Archeology, Leah Caldeira, Curator of Archaeology Director of Library & Archives and Curator for Cultural Resilience, or Kapalikū Maile, Education Programs Manager. 

Tours are 30 minutes and limited to six people per tour. Social distancing and masks required. 

On the date of their scheduled tour, members can enjoy 20% off at Shop Pacifica.

Find your date on the calendar below and book online.

Member Benefit: Group Tour with Exhibit Team
Limited Dates available April 4, 2021 – October 7, 2021

Benefactor, Visionary, Stewardship Circle, and Lifetime members and guests are invited to an exclusive in-person tour of (Re)Generations: Challenging Scientific Racism in Hawaiʻi with exhibit co-curators Dr. Jillian Swift, Curator of Archeology, Leah Caldeira, Curator of Archaeology Director of Library & Archives and Curator for Cultural Resilience, or Kapalikū Maile, Education Programs Manager. 

Tours are 30 minutes and limited to six people per tour. Social distancing and masks required. 
On the date of their scheduled tour, members can enjoy 20% off at Shop Pacifica.

Find your date on the calendar below and book online.

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(Re)Generations Program Series | Past Programs

Introduction to (Re)Generations: Challenging Scientific Racism in Hawaiʻi
Exhibit Co-Curators: Dr. Keolu Fox, and Dr. Jillian A. Swift
Recorded March 25, 2021

Cover image:

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