HONOLULU (May 6, 2021) – In celebration of May as Asian American Pacific Islander Month and in partnership with Google, starting today over 100 cultural resources from Iolani Palace can be viewed online on Google Arts & Culture by people around the world. Thanks to this new virtual exhibition, users will be able to see Hawaiian Kingdom Royal Orders, handwritten letters by the monarchs, and many other treasures of the Palace in just a few clicks at

“We often herald King Kalakaua as an ‘early-adopter’ of technology, as he was among the first to embrace electric lights and innovations like the telephone, this partnership with Google Arts & Culture is certainly in the same spirit,” said Paula Akana, Executive Director of The Friends of Iolani Palace. “While nothing replaces an in-person visit to the Palace, this new online resource allows people to connect with the Palace in a fresh way.”


Get up close with ultra-high resolution

Letters in Kalakaua’s handwriting can now be viewed in never-before-seen definition thanks to Gigapixel technology, a powerful photo capturing process which has enabled the highest ever resolution image of this feature. Viewers can explore it in extraordinary detail and experience it far beyond what is visible to the naked eye, as they see the King’s elegant penmanship.

Digital exhibit

A specially curated virtual exhibit of King Kalakaua’s 1881 World Tour has been developed for the online visitors. The digital exhibition tells the story of the King’s historic trip as the first head of state to circumnavigate the globe and highlights his stops in San Francisco, Japan, China, and across Europe, as well as his visit with Queen Victoria in England.

Some items of interest in the online exhibition include:

  • The Grand Cross of the Royal Order of Kamehameha I, Hawaii’s most prestigious order
  • A handwritten letter from King Kalakaua to his sister, Princess Liliuokalani, with a sketch of a lighthouse he saw as he sailed across the Red Sea
  • The Grand Cross of St. Michael and St. George bestowed upon Kalakaua by Queen Victoria; the royal order was reserved only for sovereigns

“Google is proud to partner with Iolani Palace to share their cultural treasures with a global audience,” said Simon Delacroix, US Lead, Google Arts & Culture. “We’re thrilled to honor Asian American cultures by ensuring everyone can experience the majesty of Iolani Palace at one virtual destination.”

About Iolani Palace

Iolani Palace is the only official residence of royalty in the United States. King Kalakaua was the first reigning monarch to travel around the world and built Iolani Palace in 1882 to enhance the prestige of Hawaii overseas and to mark Hawaii’s status as a modern nation. For more information, please call Iolani Palace at (808) 522-0822 or visit

About Google Arts & Culture 

Google Arts & Culture puts the collections of more than 2,000 museums at your fingertips. It’s an immersive way to explore art, history and the wonders of the world, from Van Gogh’s bedroom paintings to the women’s rights movement and the Taj Mahal.  The Google Arts & Culture app is free and available online for iOS and Android.  Our team has been an innovation partner for cultural institutions since 2011. We develop technologies that help preserve and share culture and allow curators to create engaging exhibitions online and offline, inside museums. Read about our latest projects on the Google Keyword blog.

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