Kailua leg of exhibit looking for a home
Disclosure time: I'm one of the local historians dealing with the "Produce for Victory" tour. And, I've been "tasked" with coordinating the Kailua leg of the tour, and will be tag-teaming with Bishop Museum's DeSoto Brown and University of Hawaii scholar Geoff White on the opening lectures. Yikes.
It started when a nice but not-to-be-deterred lady from the Kailua Historical Society asked if I'd help draft a proposal for making Kailua a stop on the tour for the exhibit. Well, sure, what's an evening of planning and writing? As it turned out, our proposal was a winning entry, and somehow -- I'm still not sure how -- I was volunteered to coordinate.
A key element still missing was where to house the exhibit in Kailua. Not to worry, I was reassured. Kaneohe Ranch/Castle Foundation, which seems to own most of Kailua's commercial space, would come up with a space when the need arose.
The MoMS folks are nothing if not thorough. The Hawai'i Council for the Humanities, the real folks to be credited with bringing the exhibit to Hawaii, coordinated a two-morning workshop in which the participants were briefed on every aspect of the exhibit. A nice older gent from the Kailua Historical Society attended with me but had to bow out when the scope of the task was revealed.
From that point, I've been pretty much on my own, and unfortunately, I have to work for a living and couldn't focus full time on planning. I missed an opportunity to submit an article on the subject during the early stages because there simply aren't enough hours in the day.
Whine whine whine. Our little suburb of Kailua is so often left out of the mainstream that it's worth putting in the effort.
But as time rolled near, the promised space in Kailua hasn't materialized. Something unexpected happened over the last year: The economy turned around, and all those little storefronts once sitting empty in Kailua are now occupied by humming businesses.
The requirements are pretty simple: about 450 square feet of space, accessible by the public, that meets ADA requirements and can be secured at night. Electricity would be nice. Last week, we assembled the exhibit for the first time and became familiar with the Smithsonian's clever jigsaw approach to designing exhibitry.
Part of the problem is Kailua itself. Although it is one of the largest "towns" in the islands, it has nothing like a municipal center, a place where community events can occur. We wind up holding such celebrations in shopping center parking lots. The city Department of Parks and Recreation community center is far too limited to serve a population the size of Kailua's, and it is booked solid. You don't know what you don't have until you look for it and it isn't there.
The problem with not knowing where the exhibit is to be housed has played hob with planning Kailua's contribution to the exhibit. Will there be space enough? Will it be open on weekends and evenings? Can you have special events such as lectures and films? At this point we don't know. Space has been offered in Kaneohe, but ... somehow, in Kailua, we'll work it out. Museum people always do.