Historic House Museums of Hawaii

The Bailey House Museum, Wailuku, Maui

Set on the windward side of Maui, in the historic town of Wailuku, is another Missionary House Museum. Built in the 1830’s of stone and adobe on the site of the Royal compound of Kahekili, the last ruling chief of Maui, the Bailey House Museum now houses a remarkable collection of early Hawaiian artifacts and a collection of paintings of early Hawaii.

The lush garden showcases both native Hawaiian and missionary-era plantings, which thrive in the wetter landscape of this part of Maui, and form a lovely setting for the buildings of the Museum.

The house has grown in stages, and the additions add to the picturesque arrangement of the buildings. 

Inside the Bailey House are exhibits of furniture, paintings and early Hawaiian artifacts. Edward Bailey, who, with his family, lived here from 1847 to 1888, was the artist of the many paintings of early Hawaiian landscape and buildings you can see in the Museum. It is particularly pleasing to see the paintings in the house where they were painted.

The Bailey House Museum is operated by the Maui Historical Society.

For more information on the Bailey House Museum, please see: http://www.mauimuseum.org/

Baldwin House Museum, Lahaina, Maui

As an restful antidote to the myriad T-shirt and jewellery stores in the historic town of Lahaina, a visit to the Baldwin House Museum is recommended, just steps from Lahaina Harbour and the Pioneer Inn.

Even better, plan to visit the house on Friday evenings, when volunteers conduct tours of the house by candlelight, a particularly magical experience. For close-up inspection of the artifacts, museum visitors are handed small flashlights to illuminate dark corners.

A popular Friday evening attraction, visitors are welcomed for a tour of the house by volunteers of the Lahaina Restoration Foundation. Local craftspeople demonstrate traditional Hawaiian crafts on the lawn for added interest.

Inside the house are simple, but beautiful, period rooms with early Hawaiian furniture. Some pieces were brought to Lahaina by sailing ships, like this square grand piano in the parlour. The shuttered windows and high ceilings would catch the cooler breezes from the harbour, just a few hundred feet away from the house.

The atmosphere of the candle-lit rooms – similar to what the original residents would have experienced – is a treat for modern day visitors used to electricity.

Even the historic table setting, complete with blue and white china, has an added allure at night when lit with candles.

The Baldwin House Museum was in near-derelict condition in the 1960’s, when the Lahaina Restoration Foundation took on the huge task of preserving and restoring the house.

The Foundation is active in promoting the preservation of other important sites in Lahaina. The Lahaina Restoration Foundation was established in 1962, and manages six museums, maintains historic sites and open spaces in Lahaina and provides on-going programming in keeping with its mission.

For more information on the Baldwin House, and the other museums, please see: http://www.lahainarestoration.org/

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