By Yasmin Anwar
Advertiser Staff Writer
The Bishop Museum is considering selling its campus in Kapalama to Kamehameha Schools, which would take over the site for educational purposes.
Whether or not the museum a premier showcase in the Pacific for nearly 2 million artifacts, recordings and photographs would maintain a presence at the 14-acre site remains unclear. One proposal that may be under consideration is a move to Kakaako.
In a letter faxed to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs Wednesday, Kamehameha Schools chief executive officer Hamilton McCubbin said although the idea is new, his staff is excited about the prospect of turning the Bishop Museum campus into a multi-service facility with a "Hawaiian Center."
"I confess that we have not developed a business plan nor tested the feasibility of a concept of a Hawaiian Center on the Bishop Museum Campus; however, we are truly intrigued by the possibilities," he wrote to OHA Chairwoman Haunani Apoliona in a proposal that OHA also consider moving to the Bishop Museum campus.
Kekoa Paulsen, a spokesman for Kamehameha Schools, echoed McCubbins sentiment that the idea is in its embryonic stage, but is nonetheless intriguing.
"Its a very exciting idea," he said. "But right now, its very conceptual. No offer has been made."
Idea came weeks ago
McCubbin said the idea for Kamehameha Schools to purchase the Bishop Museum campus was presented to him several weeks ago by Donald Horner, vice chairman of the Bishop Museum board of directors and a vice president of First Hawaiian Bank.
Horner declined to comment on the matter yesterday, and museum spokeswoman Jessica Rich said the board had no comment at this time.
In his letter to OHA, McCubbin said the idea appealed to Kamehameha Schools because the site "was the original home of the Kamehameha Schools and historic Bishop Hall is the original school building."
Kamehameha Schools was established by Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop for the education of the children of Hawaii. Her husband Charles Reed Bishop founded the museum in 1889 in honor of his late wife to augment the education at Kamehameha Schools and instill a sense of Hawaiian pride. It was designated a "state museum" by the Legislature in 1988. The land belongs to the Charles Reed Bishop Estate.
In his letter, McCubbin said his staff has envisioned the campus and Bishop Hall becoming a facility for the "greater Hawaiian community" with a preschool for Hawaiian children, a Hawaiian cultural center, a Center for Hawaiian Studies and a multi-purpose facility housing Hawaiian agencies such as OHA, Alu Like Inc. and offices of Hawaiian alii trusts.
Rent from OHA and other tenants would help pay for the acquisition, development and operations of the project, he said.
Apoliona introduced the idea during a board discussion yesterday in which trustees considered a proposal to buy the old downtown U.S. Post Office.
OHA trustees did not rule out acquiring the federal post office complex as the agencys new headquarters, yet were intrigued with the prospect of a Hawaiian center at the Bishop Museum campus.
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