Students in the heritage management program are training for heritage-related careers in government agencies, private-sector consulting firms, educational institutions, and various other organizations engaged in the interpretation, preservation and perpetuation of cultural heritage. Two examples of such places are heritage centers and museums. The UH Hilo program emphasizes heritage training in Hawaiʻi and the Pacific Islands but does so within the context of a global community.
Despite dozens of similar MA programs around the globe, none of the major extant programs focus on the Pacific Islands. The Hilo program has several goals—to create a workforce of historic preservationists who are committed to the long-term management of Oceanic cultural resources, to increase the representation of descendant communities in leadership positions in heritage management and to assist community planners in more sensitive treatment of traditional cultural properties.
- Related: A paper on the importance of the program, “Decolonizing Heritage Management in Hawaiʻi,” (PDF) by Peter Mills and Kathleen Kawelu
Participants performed community based research in heritage management and developed their skills in archaeology, cultural impact assessment and collections management. The students prepared their thesis projects based on original field research and internships.
“In collaboration with the organization Nā Kālai Waʻa, I’ve spent the past two years creating a project exploring the past and contemporary uses and meanings of the navigational heiau, Koʻa Heiau Holomoana in pursuit of its proper portrayal and preservation,” says Mello in a Facebook post.
For the theses defense schedule for Kalā Mossman, Matthew Clark, Nicole Mello, Kalena Blakemore, Lokelani Brandt and Tamara Halliwell, read the full article at UH Hilo Stories.