2016 HVNP Centennial Events

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Hawaii National Park sign, prior to the name change in 1961. Courtesy of the NPS, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, HAVO 17707, Box 2.

Hawaii National Park sign, prior to the name change in 1961. Courtesy of the NPS, Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, HAVO 17707, Box 2.

As Hawai’i Volcanoes National Parks gets ready to celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2016, National Park Service officials have released details on year-long park celebrations.

Beginning on Jan. 1 and running all the way through Dec. 31, HVNP plans to celebrate its centennial year with various series, fee-free days, and various shows and exhibitions.

HVNP was founded on Aug. 1, 1916 as the 15th national park established in the United States.

The park today consists of 333,086 acres and had 1.7 million visitors in 2014.

Keiki hula dancers from Hālau O Kekuhi perform at the 2013 Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Cultural Festival. NPS photo.

Keiki hula dancers from Hālau O Kekuhi perform at the 2013 Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Cultural Festival. NPS photo.

After Dark in the Park & Centennial Hike Series 


Beginning in January and running monthly through December 2016, HVNP will offer a centennial-themed After Dark in the Park program on a Tuesday night about a fascinating facet of the park’s 100-year history. Accompanying the talk on the following Saturday will be a ranger-guided excursion that will connect visitors in person and on foot to the topic discussed. The Centennial Series events are free, but park entrance fees apply.

2016 Fee-Free Dates 

Along with HVNP, the National Park Service also turns 100 in 2016 and wants everyone to celebrate and enjoy fee-free days. All national parks, including HVNP, will waive entrance fees on 16 days in 2016:

January 18 – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

April 16-24 – National Park Week  (nine days)


August 1 – HVNP bonus fee-free day to celebrate 100 years.

August 25-28 – National Park Service Birthday Weekend (four days)

September 24 – National Public Lands Day

November 11 – Veterans Day

Social Centennial 


Virtual visitors are encouraged to take part in the Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park centennial, dubbed the “Socientennial.” Every #ThrowbackThursday, starting Dec. 31, 2015 through Dec. 29, 2016, the park will share a photograph and description of a historic event, artifact, or piece of art on its official FacebookInstagram, and Twitter pages.

The #ThrowbackThursday Socientennial series was researched and organized by park archivists, and includes black-and-white and color images that include an 1896 painting by D. Howard Hitchcock of lava within snowy Moku‘āweoweo, the summit caldera of Mauna Loa; NASA astronauts doing geological research at Kīlauea Iki in 1960; the former Hawai’i National Park sign before the name change to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park; and much more. The images are not well known to the public and reveal a fascinating glimpse of the last 100 years of park history.

Poster for the NPS Quilt Show. NPS image.

Poster for the NPS Quilt Show. NPS image.

NPS Quilt Show – March 2016 

Inspired by the centennial of the NPS, Nebraska artists selected 13 national parks, including HVNP, as inspiration for a traveling collection of quilts. The park will publicly display the quilts in March. The quilts were created by Fiber Works, a group of textile artists from the Lincoln-Omaha area. Dorothy Heidemann-Nelson, a retired chemist, created the quilt that represents HVNP, incorporating kapa cloth created by a Hawai‘i Island kapa maker.

Marching into the Community 

Park rangers and staff from HVNP will march in several community parades in 2016, including the Merrie Monarch Parade on April 2, to raise awareness about the 100th anniversary. Banners featuring the park’s centennial logo will festoon park visitor centers through 2016, as well as in Downtown Hilo. The NPS Service centennial will also be recognized during the annual Rose Parade on New Year’s Day. Themed “Find Your Adventure,” the Rose Parade theme plays on the NPS 2016 awareness campaign, titled “Find Your Park.”

A New Museum for the Next Century 

HVNP will unveil a new museum in the former 1932 Administration Building that will exhibit art, photographs, artifacts, and other historic objects that relate to the park’s establishment and scope of collections. It will be a few years before the new museum is complete, but the restored lobby area of the building, once part of the Volcano House hotel and called the ‘Ōhi‘a Wing, will serve as the studio for the park’s artists-in-residence in December 2015, and in May, August and December of 2016.

The plans for the new museum will be the subject of an After Dark in the Park talk on Nov. 15, 2016 at 7 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center, and a guided tour of the museum will be offered Nov. 19, 2016 at 10 a.m.

Keiki on a species inventory during the 2015 BioBlitz. NPS photo.

Keiki on a species inventory during the 2015 BioBlitz. NPS photo.

36th Annual Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park Cultural Festival & BioBlitz, Saturday, August 27, 2016, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

Themed E Ho‘omau (to perpetuate; to continue in a way that causes good to be long-lasting), the 36th annual cultural festival will invite people of all ages to engage in authentic Hawaiian cultural practices and learn how native Hawaiians lived closely to the land as its stewards. Enjoy hula and music, watch skilled practitioners demonstrate their art, and try your hand at Hawaiian crafts. The 2016 festival will again include a “BioBlitz,” a fun and hands-on opportunity to observe and document the biodiversity that thrives in the lava flows and native rainforests of Kilauea Volcano, led by individuals and organizations at the forefront of conservation, science, and traditional Hawaiian culture. Visitors can learn about the importance of conservation and biodiversity through interactive exhibits at the festival.

Hawai‘i Nei Juried Art Exhibition 

The native flora and fauna of the five national parks of Hawai‘i Island will inspire artists as one of the featured categories for the Hawai‘i Nei 2016 annual juried art exhibition during the NPS and HVNP centennial anniversaries. While Hawaiʻi Nei encourages artwork highlighting all species native to Hawaiʻi Island, in order to be eligible for this featured category, amateur and professional artists of all ages are invited to submit works of art celebrating the native plants and animals of HVNP, Pu‘uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park, Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park, Pu‘ukoholā Heiau National Historic Site, and the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail.

The Hawai‘i Island art competition is open to Hawai‘i Island artists and sponsored by Three Mountain Alliance, Mauna Kea Forest Restoration Project, the Hawai‘i Island Natural Area Reserves System, and Wailoa Center in Hilo’s Wailoa State Park, and takes place in November and December annually.

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