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Honolulu's Bishop Museum exhibit looks back at 125 years of change

Honolulu's Bishop Museum exhibit looks back at 125 years of change
Honolulu's Punchbowl is seen in a contemporary photo perched above a freeway and a photo from 1880. The images are part of an exhibit depicting 125 years of Hawaii history at the Bishop Museum. (Bishop Museum)

A new exhibit at Honolulu's historic Bishop Museum chronicles the mind-boggling developments in Hawaii during the last 125 years.

The just-opened "Change: 125 Years through the Eyes of Bishop Museum" takes visitors back through the decades as part of the museum's celebration of its founding in 1889.

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More than 1,000 historic photographs are used to illustrate 15 themes including communication, entertainment, fashion, food and transportation.

In many cases, the old images are displayed side-by-side with contemporary scenes of the same locations, such as Honolulu's Punchbowl. A volcanic crater that was desolate land in the late 19th century now sits beside a busy freeway. Part of the land is home to the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.

Interactive displays allow guests to flip through vintage Hawaiian restaurant menus, test their knowledge of local sports history and listen in on a party line call using an antique telephone.

Among the many artifacts is an Edison wax cylinder recorder that museum ethnologist Peter Buck and anthropologist Kenneth Emory used to record chants, songs and historic recollections.

The exhibit "gives new generations an opportunity to gain perspective in a very tangible way," Blair D. Collis, the museum's president and chief executive, said in a news release.  "The beauty of sharing knowledge about Hawaii's past is that there is tremendous relevance for shaping the future of our community."

"Change" continues through March 16.

Info: Bishop Museum, 1525 Bernice St., Honolulu, (808) 847-3511, is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesdays-Mondays. It is closed Christmas Day. Admission is $19.95 for adults and $14.95 for children ages 4-12.

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