Maui’s museums and historical sites are not just for visiting tourists. The Hawaiian islands have a rich history that can be experienced in a kid-friendly way that should be discovered by all people that call Maui home.
With Lāhainā serving as the capital of the Kingdom of Hawai’i for more than forty years, Maui’s west side offers the greatest number of opportunities for exploring the island’s history. The Lāhainā Historic Trail walking tour offers a chance to visit all of the more than sixty historical and cultural sites in Lāhainā in an unstructured way that may fit any family’s needs. The walking trail covers approximately twelve blocks and is split into three separate trails, all of which may also be completed in one day. Maps are scattered throughout Lāhainā town and may also be found at lahainarestoration.org. Or, download the free Lāhainā Historic Trail app from the Apple or Google app store.
If visiting just one place is more your style, the Lāhainā Court and Custom House is the oldest public building in Lāhainā and houses the Lāhainā Heritage Museum on its second floor. The museum offers an in-depth look into Lāhainā’s history, from pre-Western contact and Hawaii’s whaling and plantation days, to the infancy of tourism. Free tours are offered every Wednesday and self-guided tours are available anytime the museum is open, daily 10:00am to 4:00pm.
The Hale Hō’ike’ike, also known as the Bailey House in Wailuku covers Hawaiian history from the ali’i whose authority ruled Maui prior to Western contact to the missionaries whose arrival influenced those Hawaiian chiefs, to the Bailey family and the founding of the Maui Historical Society. Hale Hō’ike’ike is home to over 2000 artifacts including Edward Bailey’s own collections of snail shells, ferns, and his own paintings. Reservations are currently required. Adult entrance fee is $10 with 50% off for kama’aina. Both guided and self-guided tours are available as well as a free app for a digital option. Go to mauimuseum.org for current information.
For a different aspect to Maui’s history visit the Alexander & Baldwin Sugar Museum in Kahului. This museum outlines the history of sugar production and honors the diverse peoples that worked on the plantations and contributed to the multicultural diversity Maui knows today. Visit sugarmuseum.com for more information. —JH