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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Wednesday, April 23, 2003

Jim Bartels' legacy more than impressive

Hawai'i is the poorer for the death of Jim Bartels, the historian and researcher who lovingly restored Washington Place and 'Iolani Palace to their former grandeur.

Bartels was a passionate student of Hawai'i's late monarchy period, and applied that ardor to the preservation of Honolulu's premier royal landmarks.

It was his drive for authenticity and precision that led to his 1998 dispute with 'Iolani Palace board director Abigail Kawananakoa when she sat on a fragile 115-year-old throne for a photo shoot.

When Bartels resigned from his post as managing director of 'Iolani Palace amid the ensuing controversy, docents wore yellow ribbons in hopes he would return to his job.

Instead, he moved on to Washington Place, where he and then-First Lady Vicky Cayetano converted the governor's mansion into a museum that told the story of Hawai'i's last monarch, Queen Lili'uokalani.

Bartels may be gone, but his storytelling continues.