Museums in Kauai are filled with ancient Hawaiian memorabilia, both in man-made buildings and among the natural canvas of the island. There are exhibits featuring the formation of Hawaii’s oldest island and the first people who called it home. The island’s native roots are displayed in art, galleries, historical buildings, exhibits and murals.
The Kauai Museum in Lihue is home to ancient Hawaiian artifacts which include historic poi pounders and agricultural necessities. Permanent exhibits include the History of Kauai, The Juliet Rice Wichman Heritage Gallery and the Oriental Art Gallery.
The Grove Farm Homestead, an 80-acre living museum, is the former home of the island’s oldest plantation, which was founded in 1864. The sugar plantation belonged to George N. Wilcox and his nieces. The museum depicts the rise to fame of the prominent family and features a main house in pristine conditon with walls and a staircase made of native Koa wood.
The Kokee Natural History Museum in Kokee State Park is a must-see for anyone interested in the island’s vast and unique ecology, geology and climatology.
For two historic buildings that have weathered the island storms since the 1800s, visit The Waioli Mission House, Waioli Mission Hall and Waioli Huiia Church in Hanalei. The Kauai Historical Society Museum provides a guide to the island’s cultural and historical sites.
Of course, anywhere you go on Kauai is like visiting a museum. Century old flowers, tress and vines can be found throughout the island, jutting rocks provide a picturesque view of a past that began with lava, and wave formed beaches carved out over time still mesmerize the viewer. Trips to outdoor natural museums are immense. The ruins of a refuge for ancient Hawaiians can be found at Lyndgate Park in Wailua, and the war temple, Poliahu Heiau, sits on a bluff on the Wailua River near Opaekaa Falls. Wailua offers a series of sacred sites ascending from oceans to mountains, offering a glimpse of Kauai’s high chiefs.