KHS Presenting Lecture About Adventurer Isabella Bird

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Jackie Pualani Johnson dressed in character as Isabella Bird. Photo courtesy of Kona Historical Society.

Kona Historical Society (KHS) will present a free historical lecture by Jackie Pualani Johnson titled “Isabella Rides Again: Isabella Bird & Living History,” as part of their Hanohano ‘O Kona Lecture Series on Wednesday, May 31.

The lecture and performance will be held at the West Hawai`i Civic Center in Kailua-Kona from 5:30 to 7 p.m. The performance will include excerpts from a one-woman living history play written by Victoria Nalani Kneubuhl for the Kona Historical Society.

The play is based on letters written by Isabella Lucy Bird, a pioneering female English adventurer who defied social norms as a solo traveller. She visited Hawai‘i in 1873. The letters related her experiences in the Islands to relatives, and appeared in the book, “Six Months in the Sandwich Isles,” published in 1875.


Lecture presenter Johnson will perform excerpts from the play during the evening event. Johnson is a director, actor and retired professor of theater arts at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo. Born and raised in Hilo, she spent decades leading the school’s Performing Arts Department drama program, including classical, music and ethnic theatre. Johnson has previously directed several living history productions with KHS including Kona Coffee Days, A Visit to Kalukalu and Isabella Bird at Kealapu‘ali.

The presentation is part of KHS’ community lecture series held at the West Hawai`i Civic Center every last Wednesday of the month. The free series, presented by KHS in cooperation with the County of Hawai’i, is open to the public and features local and state guests speaking on a wide variety of cultural and historical subjects.

Kona Historical Society is a community-based, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and Smithsonian Museum affiliate that has spent the past four decades collecting, preserving and sharing the history of the Kona districts and their rich cultural heritage within Hawai‘i.


For more information, call Kona Historical Society at (808) 323-3222 or visit www.konahistorical.org.

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