The Marshall Islands is an atoll nation located on the corner of the International Dateline and the equator. It is an atoll nation consisting of twenty-nine atolls and five islands. Marshallese is an Austronesian language and consists of two dialects, the Ratak and Rālik dialects.
The Honolulu Museum of Art Lending Collection houses many objects from the Marshall Islands, including stick charts, woven mats, necklaces, and belts. The items in this collection are primarily made of plant materials and shells because metal is not a natural resource of the Marshall Islands. Although some of the materials are consistent across all regions, some items use materials only found in the region where it was made. These materials vary depending upon the raw materials found in each area.
Use this bilingual website to explore these objects, and learn what they are made from, how they are made, and how they are used.
Read more about the project on our blog.
The HoMA Lending Collection extends its gratitude to consultant Wilbert Alik, who researched the objects, wrote and translated the descriptions, and recorded the audio files. We also wish to thank Mary Therese Perez Hattori, who advised on this project and has been a great supporter of the Lending Collection and HoMA.
Wilbert Alik was born in Majuro in the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI). He is a member of the M̗ōkauleej clan. He graduated from the College of the Marshall Islands where he later joined the faculty as the founding Chair of the Marshallese Studies program. He later worked for the Public School System (PSS) in the RMI as the Marshallese Language Arts (MLA) curriculum specialist. Currently he is studying Anthropology at Northern Michigan University.
A native CHamoru of Guåhan (Guam), Mary Therese Perez Hattori holds a B.Ed. and Professional Diploma in Secondary Social Studies with a concentration in Pacific Islands History, an M.Ed. in Educational Technology, and an Ed.D. in Professional Educational Practice from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. Her academic interests include educational technology, culturally sustaining education and leadership, Pacific Islands Studies, and indigenous research methodologies. She is a Scholarship Specialist with the East-West Center and Cooperating Graduate Faculty with the University of Hawai’i, as well as an author, community organizer, poet, public speaker, and philanthropist. Read more about her at https://maryhattori.wordpress.com/
About the Lending Collection
The Honolulu Museum of Art Lending Collection provides educators with objects to engage students across subjects and grade levels. It houses thousands of tangible, portable examples of artifacts and objects from many regions, including Hawai‘i and the Pacific. It is a free resource for educators on O‘ahu and the neighbor islands.