When is the last time (or have you ever visited) one of Hawaii's greatest treasures, the formal residence of Hawaii's monarchs, 'Iolani Palace? The other day we were filming an episode of More Local Ventures (KFVE 6p Sundays) that will feature what was once the only official state residence of royalty in the United States. Mahalo to Kippen de Alba Chu, Exec Director; Rici Guild, Zita Cup Choy, Docent Educator, Lance Rae from Limtiaco Co. for accessing our crew and making the experience very special. So special that I'd like to post a series of blogs on 'Iolani Palace because one mention does not do it justice. The palace has been meticulously restored to its former grandeur. Step quietly into this National Historic Landmark just minutes from Waikiki and you're transported instantly back to the 19th century and into the halls where Majesties, King Kalākaua and his sister and successor, Queen Lili‘uokalani, walked in another time.
Did you know... the palace was completed in 1882, its cornerstone laid according to full Masonic rites on December 31, 1879 (exact location has never been found), and that in 1887 electricity was installed superseding use of electricity at the White House (1891) by four years? 'Iolani Palace combines features found in Italianate and Second Empire architectural designs on four floors with a total of 105 rooms. Telephones were installed in 1881, only five years after they were invented by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876.
The Palace just had a major room reveal this past spring. The Music Room – known as the Gold Room –is the first room in twenty years to be completely restored and recreated -- reflecting the devotion to finding lost artifacts and efforts to continue restoration of the landmark are on going. During the reign of King Kalākaua and later Queen Lili‘uokalani, the music room functioned as the Monarch’s private drawing room. Like other members of the royal family, Kalākaua and his sister Lili‘uokalani were accomplished composers and musicians. This was an intimate space for family and friends to converse and to play music on stringed instruments. Kalakaua’s favorite instrument was the ‘ukulele, while Lili‘uokalani’s favorite was the autoharp. Between them, they produced many beautiful songs that are still performed today. Trained in both Hawaiian and European musical traditions, they appreciated a wide range of musicals genres. The newly restored Music Room is a visual reminder of how important music was to Palace life and Hawai‘i’s sovereigns. Make time to visit 'Iolani Palace. It is a reminder to all that the Kingdom of Hawaii was as robust as any other monarchy of its time.
Hours: Monday thru Saturday 9a - 5p. For more info visit http://www.iolanipalace.org
Stay tuned. We'll broadcast this special film tribute to 'Iolani Palace within the next few months. www.pacificnetwork.tv
Photos courtesy of 'Iolani Palace archives All Rights Reserved