The King very graciously conducted a party through the spacious halls and handsome rooms thus affording
them a view of some very rich and valuable pieces of furniture and paintings."
- Pacific Commercial Advertiser, June 19, 1884 2:3

What Is A Docent?

King Kalākaua delighted in showing guests his beautiful modern palace. Today, our docents share the history of ʻIolani Palace, its sacred grounds, and the stories of the influential people who made an impact on Hawaiʻi's history with modern-day visitors. If you have an interest and a desire to share information about Hawaiian history, as well as enjoy interacting with visitors of all ages and from all nations, please consider being a docent. Prior knowledge of Hawaiian history is not required.

Docent Training

Please check back for information about upcoming docent training sessions.

To become an adult tour docent, you must:

  1. Contact the Volunteer & Evaluation Coordinator to fill out a volunteer application.
  2. Complete forty hours of Guardian Service (providing aid to docents).
  3. Complete the Docent Training Course, including weekly reading assignments.
  4. Pay a fee of $60 on the first day of the course.

For questions, please email

Reading List

Some books are available for purchase at The Palace Shop.


  • Hawaiʻi's Story By Hawaiʻi's Queen - Liliʻuokalani, Queen of Hawaiʻi
  • Additional readings as assigned


  • Ua Mau Ke Ea: Sovereignty Endures An Overview of the Political and Legal History of the Hawaiian Island - David Keanu Sai, Ph.D.
  • Nation Within: The History of the American Occupation of Hawaiʻi - Tom Coffman
  • No Mākou Ka Mana: Liberating the Nation - Kamanamaikalani Beamer
  • Lost Kingdom: Hawaiʻi's Last Queen, The Sugar King and America's First Imperial Adventure - Julia Flynn Siler
  • Hawaiian Dictionary - Mary Kawena Pukui & Samuel H. Elbert
  • Place Names of Hawaiʻi - Mary Kawena Pukui, Samuel H. Elbert, Esther Moʻokini
  • By Royal Command - Curtis Pi'ehu 'Iaukea
  • Queen Kapiʻolani - Maile Yardley & Miriam Rogers