Pergamon

AnnaLc of Tourism Research, Vol. 24, No. I, pp. 23-40, 1997 Copyright 0 1996 Elsevier Science Ltd Printed in Great Britain. All rights reserved 0160-7383/96 $17.00+0.00

PII:SO160-7383(96)00037-O

MUSEUMS AND TOURISTIC EXPECTATIONS
Julia Harrison Trent University, Canada
Abstract: Museums in recent years have given much more serious consideration to attracting tourists. There is very little understanding, however, of what tourists expect a museum to offer. As part of a much larger research project, a study of tourists who visited the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum in Honolulu, Hawaii, was conducted in 1991. It sought to obtain a limited range of quantitative and qualitative data on tourist of the museum. The study found that the museum was drawing on a very select atypical group of visitors. What they valued about the museum is useful information to help this and other museums to broaden their appeal to a wider audience. Keywords: museums, tourists, Hawaii, Bishop Museum. Copyright 0 1996 Elsevier Science Ltd R&urn& Les musCes et les attentes des touristes. Dans les anntes rtcentes, les mu&es ont apportC beaucoup d’attention 2 la question de comment attirer des touristes. Pourtant, on comprend ma1 ce que les touristes attendent des m&es. Comme partie d’un projet de recherche beaucoup plus &tendu, on a CtudiC les visiteurs au Mu&e Bernice Pauahi Bishop 2 Honolulu (Hawaii) en 1991. On a cherchk a obtenir une gamme limit&e de donntes quantitatives et qualitatives sur ce qu’on esptrait voir dans le mu&e. On a trouvC que le muste attirait des visiteurs d’tlite qui n’etaient pas des touristes typiques; il est pourtant utile de savoir ce qu’ils ont apprtcit afin d’aider ce mus&e et d’autres mustes g attirer plus de monde. Mats-cl&: mu&es, touristes, Hawaii, Mute Bishop. Copyright 0 1996 Elsevier Science Ltd

INTRODUCTION
The relationship between museums and tourism has been the subject of consideration by the museum profession in recent years (Bruner 1993a). Bruner has suggested that museums and tourism have several things in common. These include the production and exhibition of culture, a dependence on an audience, their construction and invention of what they display, and that they are both the result of travel (19931336). Museums were often created simply to display the souvenir collections of travelers to distant places. Most major natural and cultural history museums have much grander and more profoundly stated purposes (Impey and MacGregor 1985). “Travel” certainly had a role to play in the history of museums, as voyages of exploration in the era of imperialist expansion facilitated scientific and “touristic” travel. This afforded the opportunity to amass many of the collections which are at the heart of such world famous museums as the British Museum and the Muste de l’homme.

Julia Harrison teaches anthropology at Trent University (Peterborough, Ontario, Canada K9J 7B8. Email jharrison@trentu.ca). She has extensive experience in the museum field and her current research interests include the representation of non-Western cultures for the tourist audience as well as the tourism experience. She conducted research in Hawaii for her doctoral dissertation. Her other research interests include the anthropology of organizations.
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Such “must-sees” confirm that one has truly “been there”. while they may not visit them at home? The tourism literature has theorized (generally unsuccessfully) about “attractivity” factors in reference to destination and attraction selection. use a wide range of media to reach the visitor. often being places tourists seek out once they get to a destination (Leiper 1990). although some limited early work strove for a more qualitative approach to musum visitation (Draper 1977). In recent years. and emphasize entertainment as much as education in their programming. in contrast. Mill and Morrison 1992:265-275. Hooper-Greenhill 1994. but there is clearly no one succinct answer as to what makes a place an attraction (Leiper 1990. Museums have been gathering information on their visitors since at least the late 20s (Robinson 1928).24 MUSEUMS AND TOURISM Bruner’s comments highlight the historical and ideological links between museums and tourism. Capstick 1985). Pearce 1991). Walsh and Duke 1991). Courtney and Bailey 1978). Advocates of this latter position suggest that museums must become more high-tech. and how these expectations can be a rich and productive arena for bringing together these apparently conficting opinions within the profession. Merriman 1989. Most tourists in their circulation through this mosaic . Shettel 1989. This has not always been a welcome development by some members of the profession who fear that significantly increasing the numbers of tourists (or even visitors in general) to museums will overburden institutional infrastructures. a major part) of what comprises her/his understanding of Britain or France as a place to visit. and what the tourist looks for when visiting a museum. and curatorship (Cannon-Brookes 1991. Others. with the intention of increasing attendance revenues. Specifically of interest here are details of the nature of tourists’ experiences. they are the “key symbols which mark the achievement of the tourist” (Graburn 1977:16). But as yet there is still much work to be done on understanding the behaviors and nature of the experience for different categories of museum visitors. They are part of a clustered nuclei or mosaic of attractions. feel that museums must dramatically change their approach to lure as many admission-paying tourists as possible (Kelly 1988. These have also been emphasized by the museum profession in recent years as many museums reach out with increased vigor to draw in the tourists. Most of these studies focused on gathering quantitative information (Dixon. what makes a museum an attraction. there has been a greater concentration on collecting data of a more qualitative nature (Bourdieu 1990. Museums by themselves do not have the “attractivity” to draw the wider tourist audience. Museums such as the British Museum and the Louvre are often visited by some tourists as part of a checklist of “must-see” attractions. But what are the other factors that prompt tourists to visit museums. This paper explores what tourists to a particular museum “expected” to see. conservation. institutions such as the British Museum or the Louvre are only part (albeit in some cases. MacDonald and Alsford 1989). ultimately threatening the museum’s ability to perform its traditional tasks of preservation. Even to the inveterate museum visitor. MacCannell 1989.

(Armitage 1923:76). the results obtained at the Bishop Museum in 1991 would support MacCannell’s ideas. Schudson 1979). according to Graburn. Buck and Dumont 1977. and Sherman and Rogoff (1994) offer excellent critical discussions of the “reality” of representation in a range of museums. Comments gathered in the course of the survey suggested one overriding theme: tourists expect that the “condensed interpretations” of Hawaiian natural and cultural history offered at the museum to be accurate reflections of the local community. but they fail to provide an informed understanding of how different categories of visitors understand their experience in museums. Bennett (1995). 40 were given a slightly elaborated questionnaire in an effort to ascertain some understanding of their perceptions of Hawaii prior to coming to the Bishop Museum.. consequently. A total of 200 people who came to the museum were surveyed by the author or her assistant.. It would appear that anticipated “real” experiences. Museums. Of the tourist sample. while at the same time challenging the often inaccurate. Karp and Lavine (1991). Hawaii. when regular steamship service from the . MacCannell’s (1989) theory that today’s tourist is looking for the authentic experience to escape the anomie of the modern world has been a much debated interpretation of the tourist experience and its motivation (Cohen 1982. in 1991. are seminal to their decisionmaking processes in choosing how they spend their time. A HAWAIIAN CASE STUDY This paper presents information collected during a small scale study done at the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum in Honolulu. Ever since the late 18OOs. 1994). If the findings offer anything to the debate on the overall applicability of this theory. they offer insight into what motivates groups of people to do certain things while they are visiting a selected destination. as understood by tourists. Graburn. Karp. Of these. somewhat mythical understandings held by the tourist of what “localness” really is. “condensed interpretations of the natural and cultural heritage” of the place that they are visiting (198219). other visitors as well). Ames (1991. the remainder were local residents but their data are not considered here. The challenge remains to critically analyze the nature of the “reality” of what museums offer for the tourist (and. The dilemma which remains for the museum is to portray that sense of “localness”.JULIA HARRISON 25 of attractions are seeking.. While this is unlikely to be the sole motivation of any tourist. 121 were “eastbound” largely Caucasian tourists. Kreamer and Lavine (1992). at least in part.her whole popularity has been and must be built very largely on this.. on the whole. can be seen by the tourist to provide one such locus in the mosaic where those “condensed interpretations” can be found. Hawaii and its Touristic Attractiveness One early travel writer claimed that the Hawaiian islands had been “favored with the finest climate in the world.

The drink had been specially mixed for her in the lounge on the Matson liner on the trip over from the mainland. a chance to experience “paradise”. For the next 20 years tourist visitation to the islands hovered around 20. the year the elegant Royal Hawaiian Hotel opened. In 1960 nearly 300. heavy with perfume which comforted yet cooled one from the “brilliant sunshine”. The numbers of tourists per year had broken 100. the number of tourists who stayed one night or more numbered nearly 7 million (State of Hawaii 1990). Were they all coming purely for the opportunity to experience Hawaii’s climate? A 30s visitor effused that Hawaii had many other dimensions with which to entice visitors. luxury. to the tourism literature which has promoted “the . To the 30s visitor (and to thousands of others who continued to visit) these images and ideas were the essential elements of the mythic image Hawaii. and accepted as the islands’ main asset in attracting tourists. legend in Hawaii has it that the non-alcoholic beverage. at least in part.000 by the mid-50s. warm breezes.000 visitors came to the islands. thousands of ordinary Americans came in later years to Hawaii and inverted their normal place in the social hierarchy by sharing in the indulgence. flirting with a ‘hula’ moon. coral reefs in brilliant sunshine. The “restless” ocean could be read metaphorically for a break from the repeated monotony of the work-a-day world of the mainland. Her “jade islands in turquoise setting. rich with exotic and enticing phenomena from the human and natural world.26 MUSEUMS AND TOURISM US began and the first major hotel was built. was a magnificent physical setting. a chance to experience something new. were events which attracted publicity in the islands and at home (Brown 1982). Nearly 20 years later in 1990. Such images stood in opposition to the much harsher climes and environs of the mainland United States (from where most of the visitors have always come from). but the major boom in tourism began after statehood in 1959 when jet service was introduced and mainlanders became more aware of the new state (Choy 1992:27.000 a year (with a few very low years in the 30s and again during World War II). such as Douglas Fairbanks. Rugged volcanic peaks lush with tropical vegetation were swathed in the gentle winds. to the commentator. and she asked to have the same thing upon arrival at the hotel. The figures grew rapidly with a landmark 1 million visitors arriving in 1967. In the 20s through to the 40s the visits of Hollywood stars. The islands were places of new experiences and exotic peoples. restless surf. where the young actress stayed in the 30s. bronze natives with laughing eyes!” (Anonymous 1936:27). It was Hawaii’s climate that was primarily billed. nearly 17. with spray flung high. In a ripple effect of such images. and opulence of these heroes and heroines of American popular culture (Gottlieb 1982). Hawaii offered a break from routine. For instance. tourism has been a part of life in Hawaii. jasmine perfumed. Farrell 1982). In 1927. cocopalms. Shirley Temple.500 people were coming annually to indulge in the luxuriant warmth of Hawaii. which became known as a Shirley Temple was institutionalized at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. Such ideas have become part of the popular image of the state thanks. Hawaii. whose “laughing eyes” suggested a sensuality and sexuality long associated with the “bronze natives” of the Pacific. and Frank Sinatra.

for many years it was part of the tourist’s understanding of Hawaii that a lei would be given to her on arrival. For example. George Kanahele suggests that it is Hawaii’s “Hawaiianess” that separates it from other sun. who would stay for 10 days (Taylor 1988). one of the last 19th century Hawaiian monarchs (Anonymous 1927: 1). the factors of “hisdistinctive local features. and sea destinations do not lure visitors away. These were what comprised one understanding of the “Hawaiianess” of the islands. Despite this. and they are the element that gives the islands their distinctive flair. In fact. Even the most hedonistic “typical” visitor who comes to Hawaii only to bathe her body in the sun. But at what point does the average visitor want to know and experience more of Hawaii’s history and traditions beyond the wearing of leis and expressions of aloha? For many visitors their experience in commercial nightclubs and their interaction with locals who work in the hotels or in shops are enough to satiate their appetite for Hawaiian people and culture. and that which could be called . the “Hawaiianess” to which Kanahele refers is derived from the Native Hawaiian history. sea and surf is usually smitten with at least some aspects of Hawaiian culture. and connection to the ‘uina (land) of the islands. a 1987 study of the “touristic attractiveness” of Hawaiian counties found for the island of O’ahu. The cultural dimension (some say the “aloha spirit”) is seen as crucial by many industry promoters. Hawaiian culture is not an important part of “Hawaii’s appeal” for these tourists. and that she would experience the “spirit of&ha” while in the islands. In 1990 “Keep It Hawaiian” awards were given by the Hawaii Visitors Bureau to businesses and projects that had a distinctly Hawaiian component. so that today it can be said that there are many understandings of “Hawaiianess”. it has been an ongoing concern of the tourism industry to “keep Hawaii Hawaiian”. and sea tourism destinations. festivals. A 1988 study identified the “typical” Hawaiian visitor as a woman in her 3Os.JULIA HARRISON 27 delights of a visit to Hawaii” since the days of King Kalakaua. even if it is not what primarily draws people to Hawaii. ancient ruins” ranked only lo-13 on a list of 16 “attractivity” scores. sand. Three main understandings of “Hawaiianess” are relevant here: the original Native Hawaiian understanding. He states that “only Hawaiians are original and unique to this land” (1991 :S). Called simply “specialness” by some. that of the kama’aina (long-time residents). employed in a professional or technical position. It is suggested here that this idea of “specialness” has been distilled and appropriated by many elements of Hawaiian society. culture. a theme which will return later in this paper. Each different understanding reflects the unique experiences of those who have come to call Hawaii home. sand. to ensure that other sun. fairs and torical prominence. Climate and natural beauty ranked 1 and 2 respectively (Liu and Auyong 1988). The Idea of “Hawaiianess” In a small publication which discusses the relationship between cultural values and hotel management in Hawaii.

ohana. is culturally a mixture of old New England and missionary values. emphasizing in large measure the monarchical aspects of Native Hawaiian life. Kama’aina is the Native Hawaiian term used to refer to those families who have lived a long time in the islands.1985) and Keesing (1989). has close association by marriage with Hawaiian nobility. as they were manifest in the mid-to-late 19th century.who exercises economic power. and dance in recent decades is only one arena that reflects the strength of these values and understandings (Kanahele 1982). K ama’aina Hawaiianess embodies a very nostalgic and highly romanticized view of what “traditional” island culture and life was. It is their ancestral home. and further express a sense of Native Hawaiian identity (1992:856). based on a principle of sharing and solidarity). Whittaker describes kama’aina as one “category of Caucasian. To many Native Hawaiians. visual arts. ohana (the extended family. This tenacity fuels the current political assertions of segments of the Native Hawaiian community to reclaim sovereignty over their homeland (Dudley and Agard 1990). These values infuse the habitus of Native Hawaiians and express a profound and fundamental understanding that their island home as “a special place”. something which has been overlooked by academics who have studied Hawaiian culture (Trask 1991: 160). and ho’okipa (hospitality) are closely related to the idea of aloha. Kama’aina is rooted in a time in island history prior to the arrival of mass tourism. when these long-term white residents were in much greater control of the commercial development in the islands (Cooper and Daws 1990. Other ideas of “Hawaiianess” such as that of the JapaneseHawaiians and the Chinese-Hawaiian communities are not discussed. it had its own institutional “Hawaiianess” which drew on some aspects of what may be called Native Hawaiian and kama’aina “Hawaiianess” (Harrison 1993a). The Bishop Museum expressed a sense of itself as a Hawaiian institution. The renaissance in Native Hawaiian cultural expression in the literature. Nationalist scholars such as Haunani-Kay Trask (1991) ar g ue strongly against the claims made by some academics. such as Linnekin (1983. Two hundred years of colonial and foreign capitalist intervention in the islands has not been able to successfully extinguish these powerful understandings. Friedman adds that the concepts of mana (life-force). which Friedman (1992:843) has suggested are at the heart of Native Hawaiian identity. This notion is linked to the idea of aloha (the commitment of oneself to others). or “Hawaiiana” . music. These aspects define what could be called a sense of “Hawaiianess”.. and now call it home. Local Hawaiian culture. their own form of historical recordinggenealogy-offers clear evidence of the historicity of these ideas and values. and aloha ‘aina (the love of the land and the idea of malama. or caring and stewardship for same). Hawaii to Native Hawaiians is the place to which their ancestors sailed from more southerly islands in past millenia. that these values are inventions and creations of recent generations. and aloha ‘aina.. kapu (sacred/forbidden). and has become self-perpetuating as an endogamous clan” ( 1986:80).28 MUSEUMS AND TOURISM “touristic”. Native Hawaiian understandings of the “Hawaiianess” of the islands stem from a physical and spiritual rootedness in the islands. Daws 1968).

some of the history of other groups in the islands. Schmitt 1988). and where local cultural traditions are willingly and openly shared. Hawaii is thus a place of dreams. in every sense of the word. was something to be selectively preserved and reified. magical romance and sexual indulgence. complex. ‘unnatural’ modern life: [they are]. however. the last descendant of the Kamehameha dynasty. with all aspects that were offensive to Christian puritan beliefs eliminated.far-off place[s] where life is simple and toilless.. It is. This is not the only focus of the museum as it also tells of the natural history of the islands and. an event which took place just prior to the influx of Westerners to the islands. and of peace and perpetual arcadic happiness. nature unspoilt. human sacrifice. Paradisiac images are also a major part of what constitutes “Hawaiianess” to the tourist audience. the natives happy and their women free and lively” (1982:8). It reflects strongly the image about which the anonymous visitor of the 30s mentioned above. waxed eloquently. and most critically exclusive control of the land by the Hawaiian nobility. Hawaii was to many of these people and their 19th century ancestors. Kamehameha I. Farrell 1982:227-230. The Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum The Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum is one of a list of cultural attractions on the island of O’ahu which focus on the Native Hawaiian history and culture of the islands. It is a memorial to Bernice Pauahi Bishop. A very key dimension to the understanding of touristic Hawaiianess is that the islands are a place where strangers are always warmly greeted. highly differentiated. The museum was .. As Cohen has suggested. But it is an idea of paradise that has been systematically cultivated by the commercial advertising for the islands as a destination (Cohen 1982)... some distance from the main tourism district of Waikiki. a mythical place. this understanding of Hawaiianess was slowly slipping away (Whittaker 1986:133-134). Tragically. Kama’aina understandings of the islands reflect a tenacious belief of life in the islands as a “kind of tropical Arcadia” (Smith 196O:l). with slopes heavy with luxuriant perfumed flowers. It is a wonderful place for a holiday. Hawaii. to many kama’aina. views strongly challenged by Trask (199 1. more recently.a mythical land of bounty where mankind (sic) lived in harmony with nature” (Forbes 1992: 12). like other “touristic paradises” is “an inversion of the intensive. This included brother-sister marriages. It is a place of crystal waters. white sand beaches upon which seductive hula maidens and handsome beach boys stroll strumming ukeleles. and by the Hollywood film and music industry (Brown 1982.JULIA HARRISON 29 as it was often referred to by the kama’aina with whom the author spoke. It was Bernice’s great grandfather. 1991/92). “epitomized by the story of Adam and Eve an example of paradise living in the Garden of Eden. who had first unified the islands at the end of the 18th century. The museum is located in a suburb of Honolulu. rugged lush mountains. in the late 20th century.

It developed a preeminent research library and archives including a photographic collection and an extensive map collection. little attention was paid by the institution to the exhibits about Native Hawaiian history and culture. and William Brigham. vertebrate zoology. and include artifacts which reflect the fascination that the Hawaiian royalty developed with the regalia and symbols of the monarchs of Europe. Charles Reed Bishop. invertebrate zoology. Throughout its history the museum has participated in over 100 scientific expeditions to various areas of the Pacific. a traveling exhibition done by the museum in the early 80s about the persistence ofHawaiian values despite tremendous social.3 million specimens. which largely focused on the 19th century Hawaiian monarchical history. and cultural upheaval throughout the 19th century. In the period 1984-1991. Not only did they build the collections and generate many publications. entomology. those she had inherited from her relatives. and her desire to visit them wherever she and her husband traveled. The majority of the items are those of the ali’i and monarchy. to eclipses. The Bishop Museum clearly has all of the resources to provide the “condensed interpretations of the natural and cultural history” of holiday destinations. botany. linked with her commitment to the preservation of the legacy of the Hawaiian people.30 MUSEUMS AND TOURISM founded in 1889 by Bernice’s husband. are assumed by many in Hawaii to be the impetus behind her husband’s founding of the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum. Charles Reed Bishop. to science fairs. in fact. On a central platform is a hale . In the cases that surround the central platform were the remnants of “Hawaii: The Royal Isles”. The museum always had galleries open to the public. entomology. were the founding collections of the museum. a Bostonian who was to become a very powerful businessman in the community. Hawaiian Hall. added other collections as plans developed for the museum. all of which created a substantial legacy for the museum. What the visitor sees in the main galleries on the first floor of Hawaiian Hall was never intended to be a permanent or a comprehensive exhibition about Native Hawaiian life. which Graburn (1982: 19) suggests tourists are looking for in their visits to museums. even if over the years they had not been the main focus of the staffs interest. political. Bernice’s personal collections. In her diaries Bernice expressed her love of museums and art galleries. zoology (including ichthyology. and malacology). and ethnobotany. By the 90s the museum’s total collections include over 21. In recent years. the main gallery space in the original building is a magnificent piece of neo-Romanesque architecture which held a great symbolic position in what the museum represented to the local Native Hawaiian population. the museum’s first curator/director. the exhibits have covered a very wide range of topics from dinosaurs. as the current administration attempts “to bring the outside world” to the local population of Hawaii. but they established many of the research foci for years to come. These facts. The museum’s research areas grew to include anthropology (mainly archeology). The exhibitions that were installed presented a very narrow and disjointed story.

Since the installation of “Hawaii: The Royal Isles” in Hawaiian Hall. It almost ignored the life of the makahana (common people). The room has the aura of a bygone era of grandeur and reverence. floods. The messages conveyed by Hawaiian Hall define a distant island “other”. tools. Above these two exhibits hangs a full skeleton of a whale. the ornate ironwork of the railings. The director stated to the author that he recognized the institution’s special obligation to the Native Hawaiian communities. The overthrow of the monarchy was a very emotional and potent anniversary for Native Hawaiians. “gods”. which had happened on July 11. building and case deterioration. Both exhibits have only limited interpretive information associated with them. bowls. The remnants told a very sketchy. The themes and fragmented story of Hawaiian Hall. and contrary institutional funding priorities depleted the first-floor galleries of Hawaiian Hall. The earth tones of the cases (green. one of the first exhibits installed in the building at the turn of this century. which focused on a narrow perspective of life in Hawaii. and an exhibition entitled “POHAKU: Through Hawaiian Eyes” was planned for the spring of 1992. These three dominant features of the gallery have little obvious connection to the cases on the periphery which concentrate on the 19th century monarchy. brown. which seems sombre and tragic today. as there is almost no direct reference to them) whose distinct cultural identity can be reduced to “objectifiable units”-clothing. the commemoration of the . disjointed. and yellow) firmly placed the design of the exhibit in the late 70s. a leftover from some of the very early dioramic exhibits at the museum. musical instruments. and dealt only with what some called the decadence and decline of the 19th century Hawaiian monarchy (Hughes 1980:74). both ofwhich were installed in the early years of this century. the richness of the koa cases. The hale has a plaster cast of a Hawaiian sitting inside of it. the large heiau model and grass hale on the central raised platform-all these placed the main galleries of Hawaiian Hall firmly in the 19th century. Planning had begun on a small centennial exhibition about the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy in 1893. infestations of insects and mold. and early illustrations. Although not an event to be celebrated in the same way. By late 1991 the museum was trying to breathe some new life into its Native Hawaiian heritage and into the communities to which it felt that it had a special obligation. and noted its responsibility to tread carefully in making decisions about Hawaiian Hall and the exhibition of Native Hawaiian culture. photographs. and imbalanced version of even the story that the exhibit originally intended to tell. usurpation ofgallery space for other purposes. No exhibits in these main galleries showed the real depth and richness of Native Hawaiian culture in the islands. Empty cases. 199 1. missing artifacts. the shadow of the whale which looms over the room. baskets. extended loan of materials. and an overall aura of neglect predominated in the gallery. a monarchy isolated from its people (whose existence has only to be assumed. but the museum did not focus on it in the way that it had the total eclipse of the sun.JULIA HARRISON 31 (grass house) and the scale model of a heiau (religious structure).

one period in the 70s when efforts were made to increase tourist visits dramatically and thus generate much-needed revenue for the museum. more altruistic terms (Harrison 1993a. however. 1993b). Each other island. dancers. Work was in progress to repair the roof of the building. and seemed to be avoiding facing up to what would be a long-term commitment to major redevelopment. The cape was displayed in a vault-like setting with the intention of generating the idea the that this was not simply the cape of a famous Hawaiian king. and are located in or near the city of Honolulu. were also on show in King’s Alley (Anonymous 1972. however. In 1989 it recorded over 800. a cultural theme park which has recreations of villages from various island nations throughout the Pacific. and musicians in an elaborate Victorian setting.000 visitors (Christensen 1990:4). The attendance figures for the Bishop Museum in 1990-91 were nearly 550. Some staff felt that the administration was simply ignoring the museum’s Native Hawaiian legacy and its obligations to that heritage (personal communication with the author). But at the end of 1991. The museum had not announced any plans to deal with the somewhat tragic state of the space. although the majority of them cater almost exclusively to the tourist audience. For most of its history the Bishop Museum has never paid much attention to the tourist audience. most particularly the Hawaiian monarchy.32 MUSEUMS AND TOURISM overthrow could certainly have been a vehicle for emphasizing the Native Hawaiian legacy of the museum. featuring live dramatizations of Hawaiian history. the administration was still embroiled in an ideological battle with some staff over whether Hawaiian Hall was the “jewel” or the “trophy house” of the museum. their history and culture. The majority of these institutions are on the island of O’ahu (one of eight major islands in the chain). staged with actors. a process which continued to reveal further decay in the building.000. One institution which does keep very thorough information on its visitors is the Polynesian Cultural Center. the . each of which tells some part of the story of Native Hawaiian people. but that it was a “million-dollar cloak” (Anonymous 1972:42). Its Heritage Theater in King’s Alley in Waikiki opened in 1972. The Tourist Audience An interest in the culture and history of Hawaii draws visitors to a range of institutions. while others such as the the Polynesian Cultural Center and the Kodak Hula Show define themselves in broader. There was. such as King Kamehameha’s feather cloak. has a number of museums and cultural institutions which often tell a more localized version of island history and culture. Manyofthese institutions do not keep statistics on how many of their visitors are tourists. The museum at this time also owned a refurbished four-masted sailing vessel. but it is impossible to know what percentage of these were tourists. Doyle 1972). Some of the museum’s most important artifacts. Some O’ahu “cultural” institutions are purely commercial in nature (such as the Paradise Cove Luau on the island of O’ahu).

000 annually. as many had done throughout the entire history of the museum.000 annually. This. as they never gained the expected tourist popularity. The tour package was actively marketed to tourists once they arrived in the islands. in the 80s it was assumed that tourists comprised nearly 80% of the museum’s visitors (Kodani 1989-90:7). 66% of the surveyed visitors to the museum were over 35. Before the end of the 7Os. and the London buses proved to be a financial drain on the Bishop Museum. and find their way to Bishop Museum proper. However. But Japanese tourists (identified by the Hawaii Visitors Bureau as “westbound”) make up about l/3 of the visitors to the islands (State of Hawaii 1990). efforts were being made to dispose of all three “attractions”. their leisure over the course of a day. Little additional effort was put into luring more of the “eastbound” tourists. Tourists who were interested in such matters would be willing to leave Waikiki. This is a distinctly different profile from that found in the 1989 study of those drawn to the islands by Hawaiian history and culture. To link these two attractions with the main museum. As one staff member said “I give them an A for their effort in finding their way The vast majority of the tourists who came out to the out here”. as the decision was made to focus marketing on the local resident community. but this position was fairly shortlived. which closely correlates with findings of the 1989 study which found 62% of the visitors to the islands with interests in culture and history were 30 or over (Sunderland Smith Research Associates 1989:36). with very positive results. museum were non-Japanese (they were what the Hawaii Visitors Bureau grouped as “eastbound”). It would seem that the museum is drawing on a somewhat different . These efforts in the 70s suggested that turning the attention of the average Waikiki beach stroller to Hawaiian history and culture was not easily done. does not seem to be the profile of the tourist visitor to the Bishop Museum. Only in age profile do the findings correlate. But 79% of the visitors to the museum had at least a college education.000. four red double-decker London buses were acquired. and 56% earned over US$40. With the purchase of what was known visitors could visit all three sites at as the “Passport to Polynesia”. and in Japan.JULIA HARRISON 33 “Falls of Clyde”. In fact. which was docked in Honolulu’s waterfront. Visitors’ Projle A study done in 1989 suggested that 47% of the first-time visitors to Hawaii. will be attracted to the islands at least in part because of Hawaii’s history and culture (Sunderland Smith Research Associates 1989:37). As to their age. the Falls of Clyde. Only 47% of the latter group had at least some college education and 41% earned over US$50. however. the Heritage Theater. as the majority of those questioned at the museum in 1991 were repeat visitors to Hawaii. Canada. with a high-school education and an annual salary of less than US$50. as well as being marketed on the mainland. In 199 1 a community liaison officer was hired in an effort to bring more Japanese tourists into the museum.

Many of the O’ahu visitors are first-time visitors to the islands and are largely drawn from the blue-collar workforce. They have to feel comfortable enough to venture out on their own in the islands.000. The museum in . Almost none of respondents made any strong negative comments about their experience. “it is authentic”. further suggests that the museum is currently drawing on the atypical visitor to the island of O’ahu. For at least one day of their vacation these museum visitors put a visit to the museum as a priority over the “sun. were repeat visitors to the islands. They found at the museum something which was seen to be genuine.34 MUSEUMS AND TOURISM audience base. “a good local place”. Generally they came to the museum to learn about of Native Hawaiian culture. temperamentally. such as the Exploratorium in San Francisco. “well worth the trip”. Nearly l/2 of the visitors in 1991 stated that they were simply following their propensity to visit museums wherever they went and readily overlooked any mild discomfort experienced in getting there. a fact which suggests that they are probably not first-time visitors. as well as an interest generally in history and culture. or comments made by friends or relatives. “interesting”. something which they felt had not been established to serve only the tourists. and sea” offered by the beaches of O’ahu. not touristy” were enthusiastically offered in response to several questions. “loved it”. with 25% of that total earning over US$60. These were the two main ways that people learned about the museum. Based on their familiarity with mainland museums. the same as those who endured the similar long. and “well done and informative. The tourist visitors to the Bishop Museum seem to come from a different group of tourists than those who simply found Hawaii’s natural and cultural history part of the islands’ “attractivity”. Those who were willing to endure the hot and dusty ride to the suburbs on the streetcar in the early years of the century are likely to have been. it seems that those who came to the Bishop Museum as part of their vacation activities were those who were predisposed to go to museums. A 1990 study by the Hawaii Visitors Bureau on the psychographic profile of visitors to Hawaii. and had come to the museum on their own. and cramped bus ride to the museum today.000. They indicated that they had an overall interest in the institutions themselves. Their general comments reflected an overall enjoyment of their visit to the Bishop Museum. a few simply offered hints on how the museum could improve its presentation. The 1990 psychographic study found that visitors to O’ahu primarily come from the lower-income category (under US$35. tedious. Over 50% of the visitors to the Bishop Museum earned over US$40. They enjoy sightseeing and are likely to take organized tours to see the sights of the islands (personal communication with Hawaii Visitors Bureau).000 annually. They consistently classed themselves as professionals. or in the company of family or friends. Benefitting from the general comments made to the researcher by visitors who were surveyed. suggested they would find at the Bishop Museum. sand. either something which the tourism brochure. Responses such as “we enjoyed it”. annually). This suggests that it is probable that the museum has always drawn on the atypical O’ahu island visitor.

They are drawn from readings and literature that are generally available in the islands and readily digestible by the interested and motivated visitor. words generally fell into three groups: those referring to the very popular hegemonic glosses of Hawaii (the touristic “Hawaiianess”). those which would require that the visitor know something more specific of Hawaii’s history and culture (the kama’aina “Hawaiianess”). They reflect the image that has been commercially promoted by Hollywood and popular media over the years. Some of the words in Group 1 had an association with Hawaii for as many as 85% of the respondents.JULIA HARRISON 35 their them eyes was something it was a Hawaiian which place. Images of Hawaii 2 Group 3 I Group Aloha Floral Prints Surfing Paradise Sun Grass Hut Grass Skirt Palm Trees Hula Leis Beaches Sh opping Missionaries Ocean Migrations Monarchy Sugar Cane Whaling Poi Ukelele Featherwork Human Sacrifice Revolution Cultural Renaissance Environmental Pollution Third World Nation Political Struggles Poverty Land Claims Colonialism Racism . While not listed in any particular order. The words for each section were drawn from three distinct arenas. in which they frankly discuss the marginal position into which Native Hawaiians have been pushed in their homeland over the last 200 years. The frequency of association of words in Group 1 averaged around 70%. To Tourists’ Ideas of Hawaii As part of the present research. To associate the words in Group 3 (Table 1) with Hawaii would require a focused study of its history and culture. Those in Group 2 were selected from the more informed writings of the history and culture of the islands. 40 tourist visitors to the museum were given a list of words and asked to identify which they associated with their image of Hawaii before they came to the museum (Table 1). and those which would require that the tourist be aware of some of the contemporary realities of life for Native Hawaiians in Hawaii (Native Hawaii “Hawaiianess”). Those in Group 3 are drawn largely from the literature written by Native Hawaiians. They are also drawn from the content of other “museum-like” institutions in Honolulu. Group 1 are words and ideas that are perpetuated in the tourism brochures and general advertising as to what Hawaii offers. was part of the local community. including Iolani Palace and Mission Houses Museum. The association of words Table Group 1.

which suggest some knowledge of the contemporary situation of Native Hawaiians and their political struggles. character. there is nothing apolitical about the nature and work of museums (1991:13). Words in Group 3. Few stated that they had learned a great deal from their time at the museum. they must increase their attractivity. where the exhibitions on Native Hawaiian history and culture are located. To some it confirmed a nostalgic sense of a lost Native Hawaiian culture. Most felt that it simply “enhanced” or “enriched” what they already knew. and their greatest potential “attractivity” is rooted . but this is a vacuous argument. because it would confront visitors with challenges to some of their basic assumptions about the place that they have come to simply enjoy. reminiscent of the “kama’aina Hawaiianess”. Manyvisitors spent most of their time in Hawaiian Hall. Some might argue that this position would politicize museums. and history. Or it could be said that the strategy of overtly challenging hegemonic glosses concerning the local community would move the institutions further away from the model of a place of “entertainment”. They expected to learn something of Native Hawaiian culture while at the museum having assumed that this was apriorityofthe institution. It is the rootedness of museums in the local community that makes them so distinctive. its “localness”. However. were identified by only an average of 27% of those surveyed (Whittaker 1986:95). It seemed to have offered very little to challenge the understandings by introducing a sense of the Native Hawaiian Hawaiianess. It was more the sense of place of the museum. This probably is the strongest virtue that many museums possess simply by their very nature. In the case of the Bishop Museum. their perception of a “good local place” was the most important element. One may argue against both of these claims. this means dynamically and accurately reflecting life in Hawaii through time and space. to be truly “local”. But what understanding of “Hawaiianess” was the Bishop Museum confirming? It could be suggested that the exhibitions at the Bishop Museum in 1991 seemed ultimately to confirm the “hegemonic glosses” of the “touristic Hawaiianess”.36 MUSEUMS AND TOURISM which suggest a more detailed knowledge of Hawaiian history and culture (Group 2) averaged around 50%. This should be the model for all museums. CONCLUSION To those tourists who were surveyed about the Bishop Museum. for as Michael Ames has claimed. If museums are seeking to attract new audiences. a museum must reflect what honestly comprises that “localness”. It would seem that tourists come to the museum with fairly predictable commercial “Hollywood” images of what Hawaii is and was. But it also means challenging any “trivialized” glosses held by many tourists of what constitutes the local community and experience. probably because the Bishop Museum presented little more about Native Hawaiian culture than other entertainment-directed institutions (Harrison 1993b). its “Hawaiianess” which had been reinforced for them. however.

and profoundly rich-as is all community life. Hawaiian Annual 76-81. It does not necessarily reflect that situation at the museum presently. What greater resource could a museum have? The Bishop Museum should reflect and debate all of the understandings of “Hawaiianess”. too much like their institutional occupational worlds”. which he has noted are “perhaps. Life in the Hawaiian community is dynamic. especially tied to happenings and events which replicate spontaneity and sociality” (1982:19). in all of its dimensions. Armitage. are highly complementary. M.JULIA HARRISON 37 in strongly expresssing their sense of distinctive “localness”. and in doing so it will reflect the distinctiveness of the place where it is rooted-that is what tourists want to see. associational. Museum Anthropology 15(2):7-15. REFERENCES Ames. 1923 Capitalizing Hawaii’s Climate. contradictory. Part of this has involved bringing exhibitions and programs to the museum which could not be seen anywhere else in Hawaii. It would seem that these latter objectives. non-didactic aspects of the cultural institution. . 1991 Biculturalism in Exhibitions. To draw in these tourists. Graburn has suggested that some tourist groups may stay away from museums as they are not attracted to “institutional” and “freedom limiting” experiences.):35-43. Spontaneity and sociality arise most readily from programs that are not constructed to simply draw in the tourism dollar. The research from which this paper is drawn was conducted at the museum in Hawaii in 1990-91. G. the Canadian Federation of University Women. The information included in this article reflects the museum at the time of fieldwork. The museum has in recent years been actively working to make itself more relevant and appealing to the local community (Harrison 1993a). Museum Anthropology 18(3):9-l 7. Anonymous 1927 Publicitv for Hawaii-Consider Paradise. the Oxford Overseas Research Scheme and the Alberta Heritage Scholarship Fund. Paradise of the Pacific 48(3):27-29. Paradise of the Pacific 40(4):1. Graburn suggests that museums must emphasize the “informal.’ 1972 Bishop Museum-Can Show Biz Support its Research Programs? Hawaii Business (Nov. 1994 The Politics of Difference: Other Voices in a not vet Post-Colonial World. they will arise from things which more honestly reflect life in the the local community. and the suggestions made here as to what the tourist visitor wants to see in the museum. Funding for the larger research project was obtained from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada Doctoral Fellowship. the Canadian Museums Association. 1936 A Tourist’s Impression of Hawaii. ambiguous. the Royal Anthropological Institute. It also involved letting segments of the local population have a greater role in determining how they were portrayed by the museum. the Museums Assistance Program. 0 0 Acknowledgments-The author expresses sincere appreciation to the management and staff of the Bishop Museum who showed her the true meaning of the term “aloha” while she conducted her research at the museum.

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