The History of Hawai‘i From Our Files: The Growth of the Honolulu Museum of Art
HONOLULU Magazine emerged from predecessor Paradise of the Pacific, which began in 1888, fulfilling a commission by King Kalākaua. That makes this the oldest continuously published magazine west of the Mississippi with an enviable archive worth diving into each month. Here’s a look back at September 1961.
Paradise of the Pacific ceased publication for three months in 1961 as it switched publishers. Just before that, in this story from September, the magazine celebrated a new addition to the Honolulu Academy of Arts, now the Honolulu Museum of Art, on South King Street. On the former site of Anna Rice and Charles Montague Cooke’s home, the building opened as the state’s first visual arts museum in 1927, displaying the couple’s art collection. In 1961, it gained a space for learning.
“The thirty-three year old museum has been enlarged by the construction of a triple-story education wing which houses an active art school, a re-organized education department and a large lending collection.
“The many opening night visitors were well impressed by the new clerestory gallery space, a continuous area, the equivalent of seven conventional galleries in size. This added space makes possible the re-installation of former galleries which featured outstanding island artists, plus the exhibition of many priceless pieces from the Academy’s own collection which had not been previously shown.
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“On view, as re-opening night’s outstanding art treat, was the first showing anywhere in the world of the arts of South Arabia and the first comprehensive showing of Gandhara sculpture.
“Arrangements are well underway to present other exhibitions of international importance throughout the year, as well as complete resumption of traditional academy activities including lectures, tours, concerts and other cultural events.”
The education wing now encircles the Central Courtyard. The gift shop, café, offices and theater were added over the decades, followed by the restoration of the more than 150-year-old McKinley High School and Lincoln School, which is now the Honolulu Museum of Art School.
Learn more about the evolution of covers in HONOLULU Magazine and Paradise of the Pacific: 125 Years of Covers, available at shop.honolulumagazine.com.
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