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Unseen Treasures

Museum vaults often contain artifacts that, for one reason or another, rarely see the light of day. Here’s a peek at hidden gems in the permanent collections of Honolulu’s major museums.

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Photo: Olivier Koning

Kekela Watch

Mission Houses Museum

This gold pocket watch, inscribed in Hawaiian, was given by President Abraham Lincoln to Rev. James Kekela for an act of bravery. Although the watch (which was once stolen and ransomed) is not on long-term display, partly for security reasons, it is one of the most visited pieces in storage; it gets checked twice a day by museum employees, and, once a year, the descendants of the original recipient fly in to pay it homage.

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,December

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