HONOLULU (KHON2) – Visitors may not find former President Barack Obama himself at the Obama Hawaiian Africana Museum, but they’ll find years of rich history to learn about.
“It’s a nice way for us to share and talk about not only Dr. Martin Luther King and President Obama, but we’re able to talk about some of the other people that we see at our exhibit here, dating back to the 1800s,” said Deloris Guttman, Founder and Historian of the Obama Hawaiian African Museum.
The museum has been a hidden treasure in Honolulu since 1997. The organization started off as The African American Diversity Center. Then in 2018, they changed their name to honor the United State’s 44th President.
“Here in Hawaii, we’re the only institution that carries his image and name. We are acknowledging that he was born here in Hawaii and it is very significant that we preserve that for future generations.”
The Obama Hawaiian Africana Museum’s work expands beyond the walls of their facility. For the last decade, they’ve introduced multicultural clubs and classes to dozens of public schools.
“What we want our kids to remember is that Obama grew up here and look where he ended up. He was the President of the United States and our young people have that same opportunity. I like to use him, because they can relate to a living legend.”
The museum has also taken their mission out to the community. Since 2006, exhibits have honored Black History Month at Honolulu Hale.
Meanwhile, the Hawaii Obama Birthday Walk is an annual tradition. Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, things went virtual in 2020.
“We are now expanding and adding the Obama Birthday Walk Pledge campaign for 2021. We call this flight 2021.”
This year, the community can take the pledge and donate to the museum for a special cause.
“Now we’re in the process of purchasing Obama’s childhood home, which is in Manoa. This is to honor that historic event, for the for U.S. President of African descent.”
The museum hopes to open a bigger facility to continue to honor the legacy of African culture and pay tribute to former President Obama’s island roots.
“We want to talk about the little boy here in Hawaii, who became the President of the United States.”
To learn more about the Obama Hawaiian Africana Museum, click here.