The Lyman Museum is a fine local museum. Jim, Louise, Toni and I went there yesterday. We all thought it was wonderful. It has a extensive collection of minerals from all over the world, including the largest amethyst geode I have ever seen. There is a walk-in diorama with sound effects, showing lava flows, plant, bird and fish species of the Big Island of Hawaii. There were some native Hawaiian artifacts and a Korean traditional dwelling that you could walk into if you took off your shoes. We were too late to see the Lyman House itself, which was the home of the missionary Lyman family, but we got a rain check to visit it later.
Of special interest to me, as resident of the Big Island, was a collection of photographs by news photographer John Howard Pierce. At one time, before there were quarantines put on Hawaiian fruits and vegetables, growers shipped their papayas to the Mainland. This photo is from 1961. I have never seen a cargo plane like this, which opens up like a plastic Easter egg. but a friend of ours remembers them.
Another fascinating photo was this one of Helene Hale in 1965. She died recently, still as active as she could manage to be until her last days . I attended her memorial at the Imiloa Astronomy Center. And good lord, reading her wikipedia entry I learn that Ralph Bunche was her uncle!
And just a little more than a week ago our League had a meeting at the Royal Kona Resort, which was, at the time it was built, the latest, biggest and best of its kind, then a Hilton Hotel, the first big resort hotel in Kona, I believe.
It now is very dated looking in the Trader Vic Tiki- torch -mai tai -and Hawaiian statues- and everything in shades of brown style but still comfortable and pleasant.
Here are photos showing the area before and after it was built. It opened in 1966.
If I had only a few hours in Hilo, the Lyman Museum would be the museum I would visit.
The Tsunami Museum , which we also visited, is fascinating, too, but a little heavy on the instruction and written materials. A couple of times when I went there there were docents who were people who had experienced the Hilo tsunamis, but there were not any available yesterday. There are fewer and fewer of these survivors as time rolls on.
If you want to see what conditions are in the downtown Hilo area, you can look at the webcam, which is mounted on the roof of the Tsunami Museum.