Hawaiian Mission Houses Historic Site

Museum in Honolulu

Occupying the original headquarters of the Sandwich Islands mission that forever changed the course of Hawaiian history, this modest museum is authentically furnished with handmade quilts on the beds and iron cooking pots in the stone fireplaces. It's free to explore the grounds, but you’ll need to take a guided tour to see inside any of the buildings.

You’ll notice that the first missionaries packed more than their bags when they left Boston – they brought a prefabricated wooden house, called the Frame House, with them around the Horn. Designed to withstand New England winter winds, the small windows instead blocked out Honolulu’s cooling tradewinds, which kept the two-story house hellaciously hot and stuffy. Erected in 1821, it’s the oldest wooden structure in Hawaii.

The 1831 coral-block Chamberlain House was the early mission’s storeroom, a necessity because Honolulu had few shops in those days. Upstairs are hoop barrels, wooden crates packed with dishes, and the desk and quill pen of Levi Chamberlain. He was appointed by the mission to buy, store and dole out supplies to missionary families, who survived on a meager allowance – as the account books on his desk testify.

Nearby, the 1841 Printing Office houses a lead-type press used to print the first bible in the Hawaiian language.