Hawaiian treasure preserved in Massachusetts
December 8, 2017 8:51 AM   Subscribe

Interested in historical curiosities from Hawaii, but prefer New England's climate? You're in luck! The American Antiquarian Society, located in Worcester, Mass., is "a hotbed of Hawaiiana," with archives housing and preserving an extensive collection of early Hawaiian engravings, newspapers, "laws, brochures, broadsheets, hymnals, almanacs, cookbooks, primers and spelling books." The Honolulu Civil Beat brings us the story behind the collection. posted by MonkeyToes (6 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Wow, that's really interesting. I should plan a visit some day.
posted by tobascodagama at 9:28 AM on December 8, 2017

The American Antiquarian Society is fun to follow on Instagram. (The rare book/archive/special collections community there that it is a part of is a never-ending rabbit hole of interesting things like this.)
posted by Anita Bath at 9:53 AM on December 8, 2017 [2 favorites]

(Up until recently, that museum would have been an amazing one-two with the Higgins Armory...but they closed a couple of years ago. If you can wait like two years, some of the collection should be on display in 2019 and after at the Worcester Art Musuem.)
posted by wenestvedt at 11:54 AM on December 8, 2017

Forbes thinks it is a good thing the books and other materials have been held in the more forgiving weather conditions in New England, where they are more likely to survive for longer use than they would in Hawaii and where they are made available to scholars from around the world.

“They have some of the best copies of books you’ll ever see because they are not in Hawaii, with mice, cockroaches, mold, warm air and termites — all the things that corrode,” he said.

Hawaiians are capable of looking after their own materials now, and also of making them available to scholars from around the world. I can see keeping in Massachusetts materials that are specifically about New Englanders, but surely the rest should go back to Hawaii.
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:57 AM on December 8, 2017 [5 favorites]

By "now" I mean "they have air conditioning, just like in Massachusetts."
posted by The corpse in the library at 12:01 PM on December 8, 2017

It seems like the collection is entirely composed of printed material that would have been published for wide distribution in the first place. So it's not like a collection of stolen goods like most museum collections are.

But, yes, museums in Hawaii have had air conditioning for a while, though they wouldn't have back in the 1820s when most of the material in the collection was created.
posted by tobascodagama at 12:04 PM on December 8, 2017 [3 favorites]

« Older Celebrate the Fragile Beauty of Endangered Coral...   |   Anyone for sirkkaleipä? Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments