Stroll Through the Halls of ‘Iolani Palace With This New 3-D Virtual Tour

Two royally buzzworthy developments at ‘Iolani Palace.
Left: Queen Lili‘uokalani’s ostrich feather dress. Right: Queen Kapi‘olani’s famous black gown.
Photo: iris viacrusis


How half a century flies. This month marks the 50th anniversary of the Friends of ‘Iolani Palace, which makes it the perfect time to celebrate with some big changes. Look for a renovation of the basement galleries, an upcoming digitization project with the Library of Congress and an anniversary gala event later in the year. In the meantime, the palace team has already whipped up a couple of projects that are bringing the site’s history alive. 


Photos: Thinkstock 


Local historic dress designer Iris Viacrusis brought his skills to the table to create an intimate glimpse into palace life. The monarchs’ Western-inspired ensembles and fashion-forward wardrobes, which were often given a Hawaiian twist, reveal much about their tastes and times. For example, Queen Kapi‘olani’s famous black gown, the first to be recreated and now on display at the palace, is adorned with brilliant yellow lei hulu strands, a reflection of her cultural devotion. Other gowns that will be reproduced include Queen Kapi‘olani’s peacock feather dress (slated for December) and Queen Lili‘uokalani’s ostrich feather dress (slated for this month). The creations debut at Bloomingdale’s before they are installed at the palace.


Palace View


Experience the palace online with a new 3-D virtual tour, which allows internet users to “stroll” through the halls, à la Google Street View. ‘Iolani Palace is the first Hawai‘i museum to pull out this kind of high-tech visitor experience: The gorgeous interiors and sweeping grounds of the palace are now vastly more accessible to visitors far and wide. Users can click through the space at their own speed, heading up the grand koa staircase, into the iconic rose-velvet ballroom or out to the tiled lānai. The walkthrough sports crisp details and real-to-life colors, from the soft rug patterns to the intricate wood carvings.


Did you know? The fashion-forward ali‘i used to enlist the top dressmakers from New York, London and Paris for their royal couture.