Galleries in the Basement of ‘Iolani Palace

During the period of the Hawaiian monarchy, the basement of ‘Iolani Palace housed the Chamberlain's office, servants' quarters, kitchen, wine cellar, and storerooms for a wide variety of items. In two phases of work, Palace curators, exhibit designer George Sexton, graphic designer Barbara Pope, and Mason Architects have created climate-controlled galleries to display royal artifacts in some of the basement rooms and reconstructed other rooms to appear as they might have in the 19th century.

  • Some of the rooms were reconfigured by moving the security office to a new location and by filling in some doorways to separate adjacent spaces.
  • Mason Architects investigated the problem of rising damp in the plastered brick masonry walls and decreased the humidity by improvements to the air conditioning system.
  • New gypsum board ceilings were installed, damaged walls were repaired with salt-tolerant plaster, new wood flooring was laid, and new lighting and closed-circuit TV security systems were put in place.
  • Now the public can view the the royal crowns, royal jewelry, a feathered cloak and kahilis, articles collected by King Kalākaua on his travels, and other regalia in specially designed cases in three climate-controlled galleries.
  • Through transparent panels visitors can also view the Chamberlain's Office and the Kitchen, reconstructed in the 1970s, and the china closet created to store the royal china.

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Photography: David Franzen

Light and moisture levels are carefully controlled to protect the feathered cloak, kahilis, and other artifacts in this gallery.