The Next Generation of Cultural Resource Stewards Visit Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park
Cultural Resource Management (CRM) Specialists at Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park recently took a day to share their knowledge and expertise with a group of college interns from the Wahi Kūpuna Internship Program (WKIP). The WKIP program was developed in 2010 in partnership with Kamehameha Schools and is run by the Kumupa’a Cultural Resource Consultants, LLC and Huliauapa’a, a non-profit organization. The primary goal of the internship is to increase the number of Hawaiians and kama’āina in the cultural resource management field through cultural mentoring, professional development, education, and applied field experiences. The internship exposes the students to the many different career paths within CRM and enables them to receive college credit for the course at University of Hawai‘i at Hilo or Hawai‘i Community College.
The five-week program focused on the wahi pana (sacred places) of Ka’ū, with many field trips and site visits, including a trip to Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. HAVO CRM staff were excited to share their knowledge with the students and expose them to the many different facets of cultural resource stewardship.
Park archeologists Summer Roper and Kalena Blakemore led the students on a tour of the largest petroglyph field in Hawai’i, Pu‘uloa Petroglyphs, located within the national park. They shared the rich history of the place and also discussed what it is like to be a park archeologist. This work includes the numerous tasks that it takes to protect, preserve, record and learn from the hundreds of archeological sites located within the park.
After the petroglyphs, the students then met the park’s historic landscape architect and historic preservation specialist, Larry Frey, at the historic 1932 Administration building, located next to the Volcano House. The 1932 Administration building is the future home of the park’s cultural museum and curatorial center. Larry took the students on a tour of the building and the surrounding grounds and discussed in detail the restoration project that will be undertaken in order to return the historic structure and landscape to its former glory. Historic preservation poses many challenges when trying to keep the historic fabric of a building intact, yet at the same time meet modern building codes and, in this case, museum standards. This was a perfect example of historic preservation work in progress for the students to learn from observe. Soon they will be able to return and see the finished product when the museum opens to the public.
The next stop for the students was a trip down into the basement of the Headquarters building to see the archives and some of the park’s museum and art collection. Park archivist Emily Pronovost and park museum technician Kristi Ausfresser shared examples of the park’s artifacts, original art work, archival documents, historic photos, and historic books that are housed in the park museum collection. They discussed their job of taking care of the irreplaceable objects, some of the challenges they face, and what their jobs entail: protecting items from damage by maintaining climate-controlled rooms, ordering special containers, managing insect infestation, and guarding against flooding or any other environmental concerns that can deteriorate or destroy the fragile museum objects.
The field trip was capped off with a trip to the historic 1877 Volcano House (Volcano Art Center) and to the Jaggar Museum. The students enjoyed their day at the park and CRM staff were able to contribute to their overall understanding of the field of cultural resource management, share their knowledge and passion for what they do, and possibly help inspire a new generation of cultural resource stewards.