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New exhibits, video theater planned at the Old Lahaina Courthouse

By Staff | Jun 17, 2010

New exhibits will detail the history of the Old Lahaina Courthouse.

LAHAINA — The Old Lahaina Courthouse will be closed for approximately one month beginning June 21 while its wood floors are refinished and its interior staircase is strengthened.

The renovations will prepare the historic courthouse, built in 1859,  for the development of new educational exhibits throughout the building.

During the closure, art fairs under the Banyan Tree will be held as scheduled, and the Lahaina Visitor Center will be temporarily located to The Wharf Cinema Center.

Lahaina Arts Society’s galleries, the Lahaina Heritage Museum and the public restrooms will be closed for the month-long renovations.

The renovations and new exhibits are being funded by the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, a private, nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization created to assist the federally managed National Marine Sanctuary Program with education and outreach programs.

New exhibits at the Old Lahaina Courthouse will be developed in multiple phases over a period of two years.

One of the new features will be a video mini-theater in the back room on the first floor. This theater will feature ongoing presentations about Lahaina’s history, culture and the marine environment.

The video theater is expected to be complete when the building reopens in July.

The new educational exhibits are based on recommendations made in the “Interpretive Master Plan for the Historic District of the Town of Lahaina” developed with community input in 2000.

In 2009, the Maui County Cultural Resources Commission reviewed the conceptual drawings for the new displays in the Old Lahaina Courthouse and unanimously supported the project.

The new exhibits will interpret Lahaina’s past through the lens of Hawaiian culture and history.

Additionally, in telling today’s story, the exhibits will introduce the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, including the National Marine Sanctuaries and National Marine Fisheries as important government programs in conserving the natural beauty of the area.

The exhibits will also interpret the courtroom and the Old Lahaina Courthouse’s history and activities, and will include links to existing, relevant historical and cultural destinations such as Moku‘ula and Hui O Wa‘a Kaulua.

Cliff Pali Ahue has been hired as the Hawaiian cultural consultant for the project. Ahue is kumu hula of Na Maile Ku Honua and has taught hula in Lahaina for 25 years.

A Lahaina resident for 30 years, Ahue has served as a Hawaiian cultural advisor and developed Hawaiian cultural training for resorts and companies throughout West Maui.

The Old Lahaina Courthouse project is being managed by Lahaina Restoration Foundation.

For more information, call the Lahaina Restoration office at 661-3262.