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MATS-students visit the Lindenmuseum´s Hawaii exhibition

Sep 20, 2018

On May 2, 2018, students of the Master Programme for Transcultural Studies (MATS) visited the special exhibition “Hawai´i – Königliche Inseln im Pazifik” (Hawai´i – royal islands in the Pacific) at the Lindenmuseum in Stuttgart. The field trip was part of the seminar “The Pacific – a history of an ocean” taught by MATS Coordinator Dr. Takuma Melber in the summer semester.

The curator of the Hawaii exhibition, Dr. Ulrich Menter, a political scientist by training who has been doing research on Hawaii for many years, gave the student group a guided tour. The focus of the exhibition – aiming at presenting life and culture of native Hawaiians from the 18th century until today – was on Hawaiian history, starting with "the (European) discovery" of the Hawaiian Islands. The first part of the exhibition focused on the story of British explorer James Cook, who set foot on Hawaii in 1778. Diverse objects taken by Cook during his voyage were displayed.

The exhibition – the first broader exhibition in Germany with an exclusive focus on Hawaii – also included Hawaiian exhibits from the collection of Augustin Krämer (1865-1941), who was the first director of the Lindenmuseum. Krämer had entered Hawaii during his cruise to South America, Samoa and Micronesia in the late 1890s. Most Hawaiian objects presented at the exhibition were taken from around a dozen of diverse collections from all over Europe.

Among the objects shown in the museum were feather objects such as feather cloaks, the traditional symbols of Hawaiian leaders, feather helmets (mahiole) or feather figures as the ki´i hulu manu, which were used in processions to worship gods as well as in military campaigns. Traditional and modern Hawaiian music, musical instruments, artisanal artefacts, drawings and paintings, sport objects, present-day art objects, and contemporary artwork of Hawaiians were presented in the exhibition as well. It revealed an overall picture of more than 200 years of Hawaiian history, and went beyond prevailing Hawaiian stereotypes.

According to the 17 students of the seminar, the museum visit was a great opportunity to deepen what they had learned up to that point about the history, culture, social structure, and rites of the Hawaiian Islanders. The seminar "The Pacific – a history of an ocean," a course of the MATS-Programme in the summer semester 2018, was given by MATS coordinator and lecturer Dr. Takuma Melber.





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