6 Engaging Cultural Institutions In Hawaii

Hawaii is a beautiful place with a rich heritage and a diverse society. The organizations on this list contribute to the state's culture and have plenty to offer locals and visitors alike. Whether you're interested in the history, environment, or scientific importance of the islands, you're sure to find something here that piques your curiosity and invites you to learn more. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

Hawaiian Cultural Organizations

Organization Location Mission
Maui Ocean Center Wailuku Protect, advocate, and foster understanding, wonder, and respect for Hawai‘i’s marine life
The Merwin Conservancy Haiku Inspire innovation in the arts and sciences by advancing the ideas of W.S. Merwin and preserving his house and palm forest
Hawaii Public Radio Honolulu Educate, inform, and entertain by providing services to Hawaii, the nation, and the international community that would not otherwise be available
Imiloa Astronomy Center Hilo Honor Maunakea by sharing Hawaiian culture and science to inspire exploration
Iolani Palace Honolulu Preserve, restore, interpret, share, and celebrate the unique cultural, historical, and spiritual qualities of Iolani Palace and its grounds
Hawaii Bicycling League Honolulu Enable more people to ride bicycles for health, recreation, and transportation through advocacy, education, and events

Where Hawaii Ranks As A State

Metric Rank (out of 50 states plus District of Columbia)
Per Capita Personal Income 17
Average Annual Employee Wage 24
Unemployment Rate 1
Poverty Rate 3
Household Income 4
Non-English-speaking Population 4
Health Insurance Coverage 2
Population with Bachelor's Degree 19
Home Ownership 47
Monthly Gross Rent 1

8 Great Movies Set In Hawaii

  1. Princess Kaiulani (2009)
  2. Race the Sun (1996)
  3. Lilo & Stitch (2002)
  4. Step Into Liquid (2003)
  5. 50 First Dates (2004)
  6. Soul Surfer (2011)
  7. Pearl Harbor (2001)
  8. Hidden Hawaii (1993)

Ways To Engage In Lifelong Learning

  • Visit a museum or cultural center
  • Read both fiction and non-fiction as often as you can
  • Teach others what you know
  • Explore new places
  • Start a creative project, like a vlog or podcast
  • Get a good desk for your home
  • Join a study group
  • Take a hike through nature
  • Listen to informative podcasts and radio shows
  • Listen to different types of music
  • Look up words you don't know in the dictionary

How Hawaii Was Formed

In Depth

Hawaii may be one of the smaller states in the nation, but it's not lacking in extraordinary natural beauty or vibrant culture. Reflecting its bountiful riches, the institutions on this list stand as great examples of all the Aloha State has to offer, from exciting museums to arts organizations and more. Whether you're a resident or a visitor, here are, in no particular order, six engaging nonprofits contributing to Hawaii's continued cultural prosperity.

For #1 we get Maui Ocean Center. Opened in 1998, this aquarium is committed to conserving, promoting, and fostering respect for Hawaii's abundant marine life. Its features include twenty daily presentations, a 750,000-gallon ocean exhibit, and one of the world's biggest collections of live Pacific corals. Determined to propagate the native culture of the island, the organization partners with local practitioners to incorporate Hawaiian cultural traditions into its exhibits and presentations.

The center's exhibits bring visitors into intimate, enlightening encounters with an assortment of oceanic creatures, including stingrays, sharks, and native animals such as monk seals and green sea turtles. Combining cutting-edge technology with marine observation, the Humpbacks of Hawaii experience utilizes 3D glasses and immersive imagery to transport viewers to the bottom of the ocean. The center also offers a behind the scenes tour, as well as the opportunity to scuba dive with sharks. Do your part to protect the ocean by volunteering to clean up the island's beaches and reefs.

The center also offers a behind the scenes tour, as well as the opportunity to scuba dive with sharks.

At #2 is The Merwin Conservancy. Established in 2010 by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet William Stanley Merwin and his wife Paula, the Conservancy is an ecology and arts organization that safeguards the couple's house and nineteen-acre palm forest. Devoted to fostering reflection, innovation, and renewal, it uses these areas to engage diverse audiences in processes of aesthetic and environmental appreciation. The lush garden, with its nearly 3,000 palm trees, stands as one of the biggest collections of that tree on the planet.

In and beyond the garden, the Conservancy creates opportunities to cultivate wonder and imagination among the public. Its programs, which span all ages, awaken visitors to the power of nature through unique multi-sensory experiences. Involving such activities as hiking and poetry readings, they produce an immersion in the garden that encourages contemplation and creative expression. The organization also offers teaching fellowships, as well as a series of presentations focused on literature and the environment. To support the Conservancy's efforts, make a memorial gift in honor of Merwin's legacy.

For #3 we come to Hawaii Public Radio. Through an array of regional programming such as talk shows, news reports, and call-in musical programs, HPR strives to engage Hawaiian citizens in a productive, culturally illuminating dialogue about issues pertinent to their lives. Partnering with a variety of community organizations, it is committed to being a source of inspiration that educates and connects people across the state. Its multiple stations feature wide-ranging newscasts, cultural programs, and broadcasts of music from genres such as classical, blues, and jazz.

Its multiple stations feature wide-ranging newscasts, cultural programs, and broadcasts of music from genres such as classical, blues, and jazz.

Among HPR's many notable programs is The Conversation, a weekday morning talk show that combines discussion of statewide topics with international news and guest interviews. An astronomy-focused program, Stargazer explores what's happening in Hawaii's skies. Helping Hand spotlights social service groups that assist disabled and other vulnerable individuals. Three weekly call-in shows, meanwhile, provide an interactive forum for listeners. Other local newscasts include arts and environmental features, business segments, political coverage, and more. Make a sustaining monthly donation to HPR to help support its ongoing operations.

Showing up at #4 is Imiloa Astronomy Center. Situated on nine acres of the University of Hawaii's Science and Technology Park, this planetarium complex opened in 2006 with the goal of inspiring scientific exploration through the lens of Hawaiian culture. Honoring both the traditions and technological advances of the island, specifically those related to the Maunakea volcano, the center aims to educate visitors about the rich connections between the state's cultural legacy and its innovative astronomical research. Its features include a 40,000-square-foot exhibition complex, as well as a garden of indigenous and Polynesian plants.

Open to visitors of all ages, Imiloa's daily planetarium shows provide interactive, in-depth explorations of everything from Hawaii's sky to its mythology and history. CyberCANOE, an immersive and enlightening event that uses three large display screens, presents scientific research about topics such as space, coral reefs, and volcanoes. The center also offers a series of astronomy talks, an oceanic navigation camp for kids, and school visits. Another great resource is its wayfinding-themed curriculum, which can be used both in the classroom and throughout the community. Support the center and its mission by giving to one of the myriad funds listed on its site.

Another great resource is its wayfinding-themed curriculum, which can be used both in the classroom and throughout the community.

For #5 we have Iolani Palace, located in downtown Honolulu. The former home of the Hawaiian monarchy and the only official royal residence in America, Iolani is a historical, cultural, and spiritual heritage site that stands as a living tribute to Hawaiian national identity. Painstakingly restored to its past glory, the palace boasts opulent rooms such as a grand hall, library, and royal bedrooms, as well as collections of surviving artifacts including tableware, furniture, military accessories, and more. Visitors can take guided or self-led tours of the first and second floors, which are followed by an exploration of gallery exhibits in the basement.

Large portions of Iolani's palace grounds are also accessible for visitors, including four gated entrances, a coronation pavilion, a royal resting place, and a barracks that houses the palace shop and video theatre. There's also an extensive schedule of events held on the grounds, such as free musical performances and panels. For those interested in arts and crafts, quilt-making classes are taught on the weekends. Contributions are critical to helping sustain Iolani's conservation and educational initiatives. You can make yours by shopping through AmazonSmile, giving a gift of appreciated stock, or by joining at your chosen membership level.

Finally, arriving at #6 is Hawaii Bicycling League. Founded in 1975, this athletic nonprofit uses advocacy and education to encourage more people to ride bicycles for recreation, transportation, and health purposes. Included among its initiatives are events, workshops, classes, and presentations, all of which are designed to engage people in the pleasures, benefits, and safe practices of cycling. HBL's sundry political campaigns, meanwhile, address local legislation with the aim of improving bikeway safety and development on the island.

Included among its initiatives are events, workshops, classes, and presentations, all of which are designed to engage people in the pleasures, benefits, and safe practices of cycling.

The largest cycling event in the state, HBL's Honolulu Century Ride raises funds that support the organization's work. Other events include short regional rides and longer destination-based ones, all of which allow riders to travel at their own pace. Bike-Ed, one of the league's prominent educational programs, teaches fourth-grade Oahu students rules of the road and safety measures over a five-day period. Available for all ages, a host of free workshops further engage the community in different cycling lessons and activities. Help HBL make Hawaii a bike-friendly haven by purchasing from its shop, or by making a donation to one of its initiatives.