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Bishop Museum exhibit draws attention to Papahānaumokuākea marine work

Bishop-Museum-Lalo-Exhibit-2.jpg
Bishop Museum
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HPR
“Lalo: Science and Conservation in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands” includes equipment used by scientists who have studied the coral reefs and an interactive portion where visitors learn about the plastics polluting the area.

Bishop Museum has opened an exhibit on the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. Museum officials hope it will help educate people and highlight the conservation area.

“Lalo: Science and Conservation in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands” centers on the area's cultural and environmental significance. It includes equipment used by scientists who have studied the coral reef ecosystems. And there is an interactive portion where visitors learn about the plastics polluting the area.

"It's really important to understand the biodiversity and ecology, as well as the research that's going into this. But that has to be done hand in hand with restorative work with this protection work, as you can't really have one without the other," said Chris Hobbs, Bishop Museum's curator of sustainability.

"And so it's really a way to explore how these things link together," he said.

The exhibit is funded through grants from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Museum officials have opened it in phases and expect the final phase to be finished by April.

Michael Wilson, an exhibit designer at Bishop Museum who worked on this project, said exposure to these important issues matters.

“You can’t really necessarily get a 6-year-old to understand the difference between type two and type three plastic easily… but you can get them to know a little bit about Papahānaumokuākea," Wilson said.

"I think the very first step of caring about something is to know it. It’s allowing people to know a little bit about this place that is right next door. And hopefully that will lead to caring, which will lead to taking care of.”

Editor's note: Bishop Museum is an underwriter of HPR.

Jayna Omaye is the culture and arts reporter at Hawaiʻi Public Radio. Contact her at jomaye@hawaiipublicradio.org.
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