New Research Will Review Hawaii’s Mid-Century Historic Resources

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HISTORIC HAWAII FOUNDATION – Hawai‘i Foundation has launched a major research project to prepare a context statement about historic resources from post-World War II through the 1960s.

The Modern and Recent Past Context Statement will contribute to Hawaii’s understanding of buildings, landscapes, infrastructure and other historic resources from the mid-20th century, including regional expressions of the Modern movement, and will guide efforts to identify and preserve significant historic resources from this era.


The research project will provide an academic basis and common foundation for a community dialogue about Hawaii’s recent past, a period characterized by the transformation of Hawai‘i from a rural plantation society to an urban one, the transition from an agricultural economy to one dominated by the visitor industry, and a group of peoples and communities forever changed by the events of wartime, post-war and post-statehood economic and population growth.  Community awareness of these next-generation historic places is critical to ensure that a vital part of Hawaii’s architectural and cultural heritage is identified, preserved, and remains relevant for current and future generations.

A historic context statement is a document used in planning for a community’s historic resources and their preservation and integration into the future physical and cultural fabric.  It identifies the broad patterns of historic development of the community and identifies historic property types, such as buildings, sites, structures, objects or districts, which may represent these patterns of development.  The purpose of the context statement is to assist in the identification, evaluation and preservation of significant historic properties from 1947-1967 and to identify key historical themes within which individual properties may be understood.

The project team will be led by Fung Associates, Inc., under the direction of Louis Fung and Tonia Moy, with key research also provided by Don Hibbard and Bill Chapman.  The project has been funded in part by a grant from the Hawai‘i Preservation Fund and the Modernism + Recent Past Intervention Fund of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.  The key findings and recommendations will be presented at a public forum in late 2011.