Over the past 130 years, the Museum’s world renowned scientists have acquired 25 million items telling the full story of Hawai‘i and the Pacific. These items include cultural objects and biological specimens.
Bishop Museum houses the world’s largest collection of Hawaiian and Pacific cultural artifacts and natural history specimens. This collection continues to be used as a first class scientific collection contributing to ongoing global research.
Pacific Island Snails
Islands comprise only 5% of the earth’s landmass, yet the study of island plants and animals has contributed substantially to our understanding of how organisms interact with one another and their environment.
In 1961, Bishop Museum established a montane field station near Wau township, about 50 km directly east of Kamiali, which became the Wau Ecology Institute (WEI) in 1971. It continues in operation as a local NGO, although it is now difficult to access because of deteriorating roads. WEI was instrumental in training a generation of PNG and overseas biologists who today are the leading scientists working in PNG.
The Museum preserves and conserves over two million cultural artifacts representing Native Hawaiian, Pacific Island, and Hawai‘i immigrant life deriving from the Museum’s rich legacy of research in Hawai‘i and the Pacific. The cultural collections include Archaeology, Ethnology and Library and Archives. These collections also include more than 115,000 historical publications, one million historical photographs, films, works of art, audio recordings and manuscripts.
The Museum cares for and maintains significant research collections related to the biodiversity of the Pacific Basin. The majority of our biological collections are the most comprehensive in the world for Polynesia, Micronesia, Melanesia and Southeast Asia. Much of the information on the past and present distribution of species contained in these collections is available nowhere else. The six biological collections house over 22 million specimens.
Be a Part of Our Story
Celebrate the extraordinary history, culture, and environment of Hawaiʻi and the Pacific with a gift to Bishop Museum. As a partner in the Museum’s work, you can help to sustain vital collections, research, and knowledge, and inspire exploration and discovery with a tax-deductible donation.