As you travel through Honolulu along South King Street, the sight of a quaint New England-style cottage on a manicured lawn will certainly catch your eye. Rather than wondering about its origins, stop and explore the Mission Houses Museum to learn about the first missionaries who came to Hawai'i (then known as the Sandwich Islands) and the impact they had on the Hawaiian people and their culture.
The museum is located on the original site of the Honolulu Mission Station, which was the main station for the Sandwich Islands Mission from 1821 to 1863. It consists mainly of three houses that served as living quarters and workplaces for the missionaries and their families. The cost of general admission grants you access to the Chamberlain House Galleries. Built in 1831 from huge slabs of coral rock, the Chamberlain House was originally used to store provisions and supplies. Today, it is the location of the Mission Houses Museum's ever-changing Special Exhibitions. Guided tours take place three times during the day and take you inside all three houses, including the Frame House and the Printing Office. The boards for the Frame House were pre-cut in New England and assembled in Hawai'i in 1821. Its interior recreates the missionaries' living conditions using furniture, everyday tools, and a few precious artifacts, such as one missionary wife's china and the rocking chair made for the same woman by her husband. The Printing Office, originally built as a bedroom annex in 1841, now houses a replica of the 19th century printing press used to create the first printed materials in Hawai'i. Tours cost a bit more, but the extra money is worth a lot of extra information from your knowledgeable guide.
Visit the Mission Houses Museum Library and read journals and letters written by the missionaries or view a special collection of drawings, engravings, and photographs.
The Library focuses on the history of Hawai'i from 1778 to 1900 and contains rare books, including the earliest books printed in the Hawaiian language.
The Mission Houses Museum is part of the Hawai'i Capital Cultural District and within walking distance of many historical attractions such as the 'Iolani Palace and the Kawaiaha'o Church. Check the website for information on walking tours and for the Museum's tour times, special exhibitions, and upcoming events.
Before you begin your journey through the past, or after you've returned to the present, relax at a lovely outdoor table topped with flowers and enjoy a beverage and a bite to eat from the Mission Houses Museum Café and Tearoom.
- Tuesday through Saturday: 10am to 4pm
- General Admission: $6
- General Tour Fee: $10
- Location: 553 S King St Honolulu, HI
- Phone: 808-531-0481
- Website: www.missionhouses.org