Photo credit: Hawaii State Archives, PP-13_7-023

Harry Kawai, Parker Ranch Superintendent, leading a steer out to a long boat

For the last several months, Dr. Momi Naughton and her team from the Kō Education Center (formerly NHERC) have been busy refreshing the exhibit area at Pukalani, cleaning, painting, and preparing to install new educational displays.

“We like to do community outreach, and for this project we focused on what’s unique about the Hawaiian cowboy,” says Momi. “It is the mission of PPS to have a strong education component for school groups and others, and we are working towards that in the Heritage Center.” She emphasizes that the space is not a museum as such, where research is the #1 priority and displays are fixed.

“I think of a museum as more stagnant or frozen in time,” she says. “This is a Heritage Center. It is more dynamic, it is always happening, continuing to grow.” To create that, she and her researchers seek out original sources, such as oral histories and photographs, to tell the story.

“My philosophy is to try not to use the ‘big voice of authority,’ in the exhibit. Rather, to let it come through the voices of the paniolo and the ranchers as much as possible, talking about their experiences,” she says.

Nicole putting up exhibit

Nicole putting up exhibit


Momi credits her team from Kō with the finished look and professionalism. She, along with graphics specialist Marie Kinchla, and graduate student/research assistant Nicole Garcia, are using a selection of themes for the displays and educational material, including:

  1. History of Pukalani Stables
  2. Ranch Women of the Far West
  3. Cowgirls
  4. Japanese Paniolo
  5. Parker Ranch History
  6. Origins of Ranching/Paniolo
  7. Timeline of Ranching in Hawaiʻi
  8. Noho lio – Hawaiian saddles
  9. Paniolo Gear (ropes, knives, etc.)
  10. Hawaiian Language used in Ranching
  11. Paniolo life – Based on Oral Histories
  12. Shipping Cattle
  13. Hunting Wild Cattle
  14. Waiomina
  15. Silver Spur and Kepa Awards

The Heritage Center will also include a special section for rotating displays that will change frequently and focus on a specific topic or item, for example how the saddles made on Kauai are different.

PPS is excited to offer this new and ongoing learning opportunity to students and the community at large. Reopening is planned for the fall, and we’ll be sure to keep you posted on their progress!