Friday, October 19, 2012

The Bailey House Museum on Museum Day

Maui is not known for its museums. Beaches, yes. Windsurfing yes. Romantic spots, yes. Museums, no. But Maui has museums. 

Bailey House, facing the parking lot and street.
For the first time ever, I took myself on an “artist date” and visited the Bailey House Museum in Wailuku as part of National Museum Day, sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution. On this day, the public can register for a free museum pass for 2 people to visit a participating museum.

I had a lot of preconceptions about the Bailey House, even though I had never been there. For starters, I thought it was a missionary museum like Oahu’s Mission Houses Museum, about the history of the missionaries in Hawaii, and I was so wrong. For various reasons, I have mixed feelings about the missionaries and I won’t get into that now.  The Bailey House Museum is a small but intriguing museum, with old artifacts and displays that made me want to look closer.

Hawaiian land snails, which are practically extinct,
but were plentiful back in the 1800s. 
A close up of the land snails, and part of a lei (upper right corner) that didn't photograph well through museum glass.

Once a family home, the Bailey House has a kitchen area, living room, and bedrooms upstairs. Hallways are narrow and rooms are boxy in a New England fashion.  The staff in the entry and museum shop gave me a short summary of the building’s history, much of which I don’t remember except that the Baileys once lived there, hence the name, and that Mr. Bailey was an artist who painted in oil, and later on the house became a school.

This is a painting of Maliko Gulch just before Haiku!
As it looked back in the day, before jet boats launched out of it,
before SUP races, before the highway was built...
Four poster bed with a vintage Hawaiian quilt. 

My favorite museum item: an etching of a night blooming cereus.
It was right next to the bed , so someone in the Bailey House must have been fond of this flower. 

Outside the Bailey House, a long house for canoes.

On the lawn of the Bailey House, a local ukulele group
performing just for Museum Day.

I do have some video footage, but ahem, haven't had a chance to edit or post any of that.  I hope to update this post in a week or two with some video.

Marianne Klaus
 The big surprise was meeting a community garden member, Marianne Klaus, who turned out to be a ceramics artist and staff member at the Bailey House. Marianne and other artists had artwork on display in a side building on the grounds. Since Maui is such a small island, you never know who you’ll run into or where. 

PS. This post is linked with Maui Shop Girl's photo challenge for the theme: OLD. Check out other posts with old pics. 


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