Saturday, November 13, 2010

Things to Do: Honolulu Academy of Arts

One of the more prominent art museums in Honolulu is the Honolulu Academy of Arts.  Originally, the site was the home of its founder and wealthy benefactor, Anna Rice Cooke.  She came from a wealthy missionary family and married Charles Montague Cooke, himself from another wealthy missionary family.  Both settled on O'ahu with their home on the land of the future museum.  Cooke began collecting various pieces for their house, but the size of the collection eventually out grew their rooms.  The land and some funds were donated, their house demolished, and New York architect Bertram Goodhue  was commissioned to construct the new museum.  Unfortunately, he died before completing the project, however his Spanish Colonial Revival style is evident in the museum's design and influenced the design of other buildings in Honolulu.

The museum is located at 900 South Beretania Street in Downtown Honolulu.  Hours are 10:00 am to 4:30 pm Tuesday through Saturday and 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm on Sunday.  Admission for adults is $10, seniors and students are $5, and kids under 12 years old are free.

Due to the restrictions on taking pictures in the galleries, I can only show the courtyards, you have to see the galleries for yourself.  This view is the Central Courtyard when you walk in the museum.  There are 30 galleries of art built around the courtyards in the museum with some visiting exhibits.  The galleries showcase selected pieces from over 60,000 items in the museum's collection.

Walking to the left, you step into the Joanna Lau Sullivan Chinese Courtyard.  In the rooms surrounding the courtyard you will find Japanese, Chinese, and Korean exhibits.  Here is one of the museum's prized collections: a rotating selection from over 10,000 ancient Japanese woodblock prints.  New prints are put on display every 3 months.  Very impressive.

Walking to the right, you step into the Mediterranean Courtyard.  In the rooms surrounding this courtyard, you'll find Mediterranean, Italian Renaissance, European, and American exhibits.  There are works by Monet, Gauguin, and van Gogh.  Some of the rooms have motion-sensitive lighting, so when you first step in the rooms will be dim, just wait a few seconds and the room brightens.  Also located in the back right is Robert Allerton Art Research Library.  This is a non-circulating library with over 40,000 books, periodicals, and auction catalogs.  It's open to the public Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm.

 Going back to the right of the museum past the J.L. Sullivan Courtyard are the Banyan and Kinau Courtyards.  Around these courtyards are the exhibits from Indonesia, Iran, and India.
There's addition artwork on the second floor.  After looking through these galleries, you might be hungry so it's time to stop by the Pavilion Cafe.

The Pavilion Cafe is open Tuesday thru Saturday and as usual, I was too late to try it out.  The cafe has designated seating times at 11:30, 11:45, 12:00, 12:45, 1:00, 1:15, and 1:30.  Reservations are recommended.  The cafe has an open air section so you can enjoy the sculptures, waterfall, and surrounding gardens.

If I was a little earlier, I could've enjoyed the menu, but that will have to wait for another day.  Also, the Honolulu Academy of Arts runs the tours to Shangri-La, which is a good tour I'd recommend.

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