Wo Hing Museum
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858 Front St · interesting places nearby
Wo Hing Museum information
Built in 1912 as a meeting hall for the benevolent society Chee Kung Tong, this two-story temple provided Chinese immigrants with a place to preserve their cultural identity, celebrate festivities and socialize in their native tongue. After WWII, Lahaina’s ethnic Chinese population spread far and wide and the temple fell into decline. Now restored and turned into a cultural museum, it houses period photos, a ceremonial dancing-lion costume and a Taoist shrine.
Don’t miss the tin-roof cookhouse out back, which holds a little theater showing fascinating films of Hawaii shot by Thomas Edison in 1898 and 1906, soon after he invented the motion-picture camera. These grainy black and white shots capture poignant images of old Hawaii, with paniolo (Hawaiian cowboys) herding cattle, cane workers in the fields and everyday street scenes. The wall behind the screen holds a collection of opium bottles unearthed during an excavation of the grounds.