Relief map of Hawaii at St. John

Before 3D virtual reality and 360-degree video, there were raised relief maps. Some stunning examples are tucked away in the lobby of St. John Plant Science Lab on the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa campus, where seven freestanding, three-dimensional maps offer a fascinating look at the Hawaiian Islands.

Crafted in 1936, the maps offer viewers the chance to circle around and peer over the Hawaiian Islands and study both the topography and beauty of the land, as well as the way it was used for agriculture. The maps are a popular stop on campus tours and are still used by instructors.

However, after 80 years of service these one-of-a-kind masterworks are in critical need of refurbishment—cleaning, restoration and protection—to preserve them for future generations. 2015 Hawaiʻi Living Treasure Honoree and long-time UH Mānoa Professor of art Laura Ruby will lead the effort.

Get involved

Every donation to this important cause will be instrumental in preserving the story of the land. Naming opportunities are available for the relief maps and/or the St. John lobby for companies or individual donors who are interesting in underwriting a meaningful portion of this preservation project.

Visit the UH Foundation website or call Lori Admiral at (808) 956-5747 to learn more and to help UH restore this unique treasure.