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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

Vanity Case of Queen Kapiolani

Bishop Museum

With 24 million catalogued objects in the Bishop Museum’s permanent collection, and room to exhibit only a tiny fraction of them, sometimes even treasures need to wait their turn. This precious powder compact, crafted from gold and set with sapphires, was presented to visiting Queen Kapiolani by Queen Victoria of England at her 1887 Jubilee celebration in London. When the compact was opened recently, a puff of cotton and some pale powder were found inside, looking as fresh as the day they were last put down by a royal hand.

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,December

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