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Past Exhibition

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.

Now Closed

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.

The (Re)Generations: Challenging Scientific Racism in Hawaiʻi exhibition explored 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. The (Re)Generations exhibit aimed 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 was 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.

(Re) Generations Programs

Throughout the run of the exhibit, we hosted a series of related programs focusing on the issues presented in the exhibition. See the list of the program topics below and watch the program videos using the video playlist

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

Video Information

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 > >

Cover image:

Lameka Hoʻolapa by Louis R. Sullivan, 1920–1921, and Annemarie Aweau Paikai, his great-great-granddaughter, by Sheika Alghezawi, 2021.
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OPEN DAILY 9 AM – 5 PM

1525 BERNICE STREET
HONOLULU, HAWAI’I 96817

OPEN DAILY 9 AM – 5 PM

1525 BERNICE STREET
HONOLULU, HAWAI’I 96817

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