Bishop Museum

project type

Renovation, Rehabilitation

year completed


MASON spearheaded the renovation of Bishop Museum’s Hawaiian Hall Complex, which housed some of the world’s most valuable Hawaiian collections yet didn’t meet modern museum standards.

Our work not only retained the historic integrity of the Victorian-era building, but it also contributed to the reinterpretation of Hawaiian history and culture in a new, refreshing way.

Photo Credit: Linny Morris

To restore the original design, we reopened the skylight, which had been covered after the 1968 installation of electric lighting, and equipped it with light filters that eliminate UV radiation to prevent damage to the exhibits’ artifacts. We also installed 73 in-line fans between the floor and joists, which keeps the Hall at a temperate 70-72 degrees F. All double-hung windows were restored or replaced, and wood doors were installed on the inside of each window.

In order to modernize the Hawaiian Hall Complex, we designed a new atrium to connect the different levels of the galleries and provide accessibility while simultaneously offering a space for demonstrations and entertainment. This “elevator court” accommodates a five-stop elevator and bridges connecting the upper floor levels.

Project Details

  • LED lights dimmed to 5 foot-candles illuminate the exhibit cases without exposing the artifacts to heat damage. Ambient light is further reduced to 2 foot-candles. The skylight has been opened and equipped with light filters that eliminate UV radiation.
  • All the double-hung windows were restored or replaced and are fully operational. Since screens or tints would not reduce light to an acceptable level, wood cabinets were installed on the inside of each window. From the outside, the windows appear as they did originally; from the inside, as recurring elements in the Koa wood paneling.
  • In Pacific Hall, Koa display cases were reconstructed based on historic photos and installed in original locations, while rail cases and balusters were restored.


Historic Hawaii Foundation

  • Historic Preservation Award, 2009
  • Historic Preservation Award, 2014

AIA Honolulu

Award of Merit 2010

NAIOP Hawaii

Renovation Award Commercial/Other 2014



  • Documentation of Existing Conditions
  • Project Feasibility Studies
  • Project Programming and Space Planning
  • Building Design
  • Construction Documents and Administration

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