$1.2 million investment to protect historic and cultural landmark

HONOLULU (March 18, 2024)—The Iconic ‘Iolani Palace is set to undergo a significant roofing repair and restoration project. The Friends of ‘Iolani Palace and the Division of State Parks of the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) launched the project with a traditional Hawaiian blessing on Monday, March 18, 2024. It is estimated to take about six months to complete.

This initiative will ensure the protection and preservation of the palace’s historical integrity and valuable contents. The ‘Iolani Palace roof repair project is being supported in part by a Save America’s Treasures grant from the Historic Preservation Fund, administered by the National Park Services, Department of the Interior.

With nearly $500,000 from the Save America’s Treasures grant and additional funds from the Hawaiʻi State Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), the project will repair and replace approximately 9,000 square feet of slate roofing, treat cast iron elements, neutralize rust damage, and repair the historic glass cupola and skylights.

“The repair and restoration of ʻIolani Palace’s roof is a critical step in preserving an essential piece of Hawaiʻi’s history and cultural heritage,” said Curt Cottrell, administrator of the Division of State Parks, DLNR.  “By protecting this historic State Monument, we ensure that the legacy of the Hawaiian Kingdom continues to inspire and educate future generations.”

The work aims to mitigate water damage to the Palace and safeguard the thousands of cultural objects housed within, all while preserving its historic appearance. ‘Iolani Palace, commissioned by King Kalākaua in 1882, was the home of Hawaiʻi’s last reigning monarchs and served as the official royal residence of the Hawaiian Kingdom. It is one of the most recognizable buildings in Hawai‘i and a registered National Historic Landmark.

“We are profoundly grateful for the support and recognition from the Save America’s Treasures grant and DLNR. This highlights the collective responsibility we share in preserving our past,” added Paula Akana, president and CEO of The Friends of ʻIolani Palace. “This project underscores our kulena to safeguard this precious link to our past, ensuring we continue to tell the story of Hawaiʻi’s royal heritage with the dignity and respect it deserves. Mahalo to all who are making this possible.”

‘Iolani Palace underwent an extensive restoration in the early 1970s, which included reroofing. The roofing tiles for this project match the existing color and material of the current tiles.

The contractor for this project is MRC Roofing LLC and oversight and historic consulting will be provided by MASON, the state’s leading architecture firm in historic consulting.

Commissioned by King Kalākaua in 1882, ʻIolani Palace was the home of Hawaiʻi’s last reigning monarchs and stood as the official royal residence of the Hawaiian Kingdom, playing a central role in the political and social life of the era. Today, meticulously restored to its former grandeur, ʻIolani Palace serves as a powerful reminder of a significant era in Hawai‘i’s history, telling the stories of King Kalākaua and his sister, Queen Lili‘uokalani.

About the Friends of ‘Iolani Palace:

‘Iolani Palace is a living restoration of a proud Hawaiian national identity and is recognized as the spiritual and physical multicultural epicenter of Hawai‘i. Built in 1882 by King Kalākaua, ‘Iolani Palace was the official royal residence of Hawaiʻi’s last reigning monarchs and served as the center of the Hawaiian Kingdom’s political and social life until the overthrow of the monarchy in 1893. A National Historic Landmark, ‘Iolani Palace has been meticulously restored to its former grandeur to tell of a time when King Kalākaua and his sister and successor, Queen Lili‘uokalani, walked the grand halls. Since 1966, The Friends of ‘Iolani Palace continues to preserve, share, and celebrate the culture and history of ‘Iolani Palace and its grounds for the benefit of Native Hawaiians, the people of Hawai’i, and the world. For more information, please visit www.iolanipalace.org or call (808) 522-0822.