Kalaupapa Exhibit Featured at Parker Ranch
A historical exhibit on loan from Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa, “A Source of Light, Constant and Never-Fading,” will open to the public on Jan. 19 at Parker Ranch Headquarters and will remain until Feb. 20.
Operating hours of the exhibit will be Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Saturday, Feb. 7 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for the Annual Cherry Blossom Festival.
The exhibit, which will be displayed in the great room of the main office, will highlight the strong relationship between the Royal Family of Hawai’i and the people of Kalaupapa, who were sent to Molokai upon being afflicted with leprosy, which is now known as Hansen’s disease.
“We were amazed by the close connection that Parker Ranch had to the people of Kalaupapa and wanted others to have an opportunity to learn whether they had a family member sent to live out their life in isolation,” said Nahua Guilloz, Parker Ranch, Inc. corporate secretary and senior manager.
Hawai’i’s leprosy isolation policies between 1866 and 1969 ensured that about 8,000 people were taken from their families and places of birth to be sent to Kalaupapa. It is believed that about 5,200 individuals were taken away prior to the annexation of Hawai’i by the United States, 97 percent of which were Native Hawaiian.
According to a release on the exhibit, the situation moved members of the Royal Family, who visited Kalaupapa, read petitions, wrote letters, mourned friends, and did what they could to make life better for those afflicted with the disease. Leprosy at the time was not viewed as an abstract issue rather than a very real presence in their lives.
Historical and contemporary photographs will be on display, as well as excerpts from letters and petition from the people of Kalaupapa together with the words of members of the Royal Family, including diary entries from Queen Lili’uokalani. Many of the letters on presented at the exhibit were originally written in Hawaiian. Panels devoted to the deep bonds between Father Damien and Mother Marianne formed with the people of Kalaupapa and the Royal Family will also be on display.