Na Moolelo Lecture Series

Iolani Palace invites you to join us at our new Na Moolelo Lecture Series. The lectures feature presentations by Hawaiian cultural experts, historians, and museum professionals that will prompt discussion of Hawaii history and culture as well as museum practices.

The free Na Moolelo Lecture series continues Iolani Palace mission to preserve and share Hawaii’s unique cultural and historical qualities with the community. 

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The summer schedule for the Na Moolelo Lecture Series is as follows:

Wednesday, July 11
Topic: A Duty of Care: Museums, Environment and Climate
Why does it matter that museums become more environmentally sustainable and climate resilient? How can they even do it? It starts with energy, water and waste; progresses to capital planning and public programs; and culminates with cooperative community planning for resilience and national commitments to UN Sustainable Development Goals. See how this work is developing in Hawaii, and around the country, through programming about climate and the Anthropocene, in operations through high-efficiency buildings and processes, and through community resilience planning. Examples include Manoa History Center, Bishop Museum, Strawbery Banke, CalAcademy, Detroit Zoo, Monterey Bay Aquarium, Wagner Free Institute, Phipps Conservatory.

Speaker: Sarah Sutton, Sustainable Museums

Sarah Sutton is Principal of Sustainable Museums, a consultancy using the understanding of behavioral change, environmental policy, and cultural resource practice to help nature/culture organizations thrive in a changing planetary climate. She helps zoos, aquariums, gardens, museums, and historic sites become more environmentally sustainable and to work with their communities to build climate resilience. She is the Sector Lead for Cultural Institutions at We Are Still In, the largest national coalition of non-party supporters of the Paris Climate Agreement.

Wednesday, July 18
Speaker: Barron Oda 
Topic/ Summary : TBD

Wednesday, Aug. 8
Topic: Before and After: Shangri La
An important part of modern conservation practice is documentation and this includes before and after photographs of everything a conservator does. Prior to coming to Hawaiʻi in 2012, Kent’s career in private conservation practice included work on a wide variety of materials, from mosaics to bronze sculptures, from a the ancient to the modern world. Come and see how his work before coming to Hawaiʻi helped him tackle some interesting problems at Shangri La, Museum of Islamic Art, Culture and Design… illustrated with “before and after” photographs, of course!

Speaker: Kent Severson, Conservator, Shangri La, Museum of Islamic Art, Culture & Design
Kent Severson is the Conservator at Shangri La, Museum of Islamic Art, Culture & Design in Honolulu, where he is responsible for overseeing the care and preservation of Shangri La’s collection of Islamic art. He is a graduate of the NYU conservation training program and was formerly in private practice, in Boston, Massachusetts. He has participated in active archaeological excavations in Turkey, Greece, Italy and Egypt. In 2010, 2011, and 2016-2017 he was a Visiting Instructor for the Iraqi Institute for the Conservation of Antiquities and Heritage in Erbil, Iraq. Severson is a fellow of the American Institute for Conservation.

Wednesday, Aug. 22
Topic: Na Kilo Ao Māiki: Observing the microbial realm
Dr. Frank studies the smallest, most abundant and diverse forms of life in the ahupua‘a ecosystems and the role they play in shaping the functionality of that ‘āina. Though our kupuna could not physically see microorganisms, she believes they understood their presence, which is reflected within our moʻolelo, mele, oli and traditional management practices. By better understanding the microbial moʻokuauhau of our ʻāina – bridging cultural and historical knowledge with contemporary knowledge systems – we can begin to decode the insight left to us by our kupuna and better evaluate overall ecosystem health, inform current monitoring, and perpetuate the restoration, sustainability and resilience of our native ecosystems.

Speaker: Dr. Kiana Frank, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, Pacific Biosciences Research Center

Kiana Frank - born and raised in Kailua Oʻahu - is an Assistant Professor in the Pacific Biosciences Research Center at the University of Hawaii, Mānoa. She studies the microbial dynamics of Hawaiian ecosystems as a mechanism to better understand the connectivity between land and sea, and to perpetuate place-based knowledge and ecological-based studies that foster values and concepts of traditional management. Her work integrates biology, geochemistry, and ʻike kupuna (traditional knowledge) to address novel hypothesis and showcase connections between contemporary western science and Native Hawaiian Science.

All discussions will take place at 5:00 p.m. in the Kanaina Building on the Palace Grounds. Admission is free.

The free Nā Moʻolelo Lecture series continues Iolani Palace mission to preserve and share Hawaii’s unique cultural and historical qualities with the community.