In 2003, the Mokupāpapa Discovery Center (MDC) was established to interpret the natural science, culture and history of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and surrounding marine environment. Since most people will never have the opportunity to visit these remote islands, the 4,000-square-foot facility on the bayfront in Hilo, Hawaiʻi serves to "bring the place to the people" and spur greater public awareness of the region and ocean conservation issues.
Coinciding with its 10 year anniversary this year, MDC will be relocating to a new, larger space in Hilo and expanding its programs and offerings. With the much larger space, we envision an multi-use complex that will feature an expanded Mokupāpapa Discovery Center, additional classroom spaces, a theater, and a training center that will host workshops for groups from all corners of the globe working in marine management and conservation.
The special features of the previous Center will be retained and improved upon, including a large-scale wall map, interactive displays and kiosks, engaging three-dimensional models, submersible mock-up, immersive theater, and a saltwater aquarium to showcase some of the fish that inhabit NWHI reefs. Also included in the relocation will be the large and colorful graphic panels with interpretive text in both Hawaiian and English that introduce the visitor to the NWHI's geography, cultural history, and ecology, as well as the beautiful photographs from the NWHI, giant coral reef mural (large image, 442KB) created by Hilo artist Layne Luna , and several life-size models of NWHI inhabitants - such as a giant manta ray, Ulua (trevally), Akule (big-eyed scad), Ahi (yellowfin tuna ) and several sharks, also created by Lane.
At the new facility, the nature and culture of the NWHI will come alive as never before, transporting visitors to this remote ocean wilderness where predators rule the reefs, the skies teem with swooping, screeching seabirds, and the Native Hawaiian chanting of the Kumulipo (the Hawaiian creation chant) sets the mood for exploration and learning.
We plan to re-open in June 2013, in time to welcome visitors and celebrate our 10 year anniversary. Stay tuned to our website or sign up to our list serve for more information. We look forward to seeing you soon!
For more information about the relocation, contact Andy Collins, 808-694-3922.