3 people working on kahili

Project consultants, from right, Kawika Lum (Hawaiian feather work artist), Alex Allardt (cultural objects conservator) and Mele Kahalepuna Chun (3rd generation Hawaiian feather work artist) document hundreds of branches from dismantled kahili.

The University of Hawaiʻi Library’s preservation department is partnering with Daughters of Hawaiʻi to stabilize cultural materials from Huliheʻe Palace including hand-held kahili that were damaged by the 2011 tsunami.

During this Federal Emergency Management Agency funded project, the preservation department uncovered information about how kahili were crafted in the 19th century. Although the kahili were in poor condition prior to the tsunami, and were never intended for display, they offer a unique opportunity to understand the design and skill of the artists who constructed them.

Steps are being taken to stabilize the kahili by removing salt and dirt deposits from the feathers, wrappings and handles.

Open house

The community can see the kahili and learn about the work being done to care for them at an open house on Sunday, February 22, 12–4 p.m. at the Hamilton Addition fifth floor. Hawaiian feather work experts Mele Kahalepuna Chun and Kawika Lum and objects conservator Alex Allardt will be on hand to answer questions. Chun will also showcase some of the contemporary Hawaiian feather work featured at her family’s store, Nā Lima Mili Hulu Noʻeau, in Kaimukī.

A UH Mānoa news release

More restoration work: The preservation department preserves Huliheʻe Palace’s kapa moe