HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Iolani Palace made over 100 cultural resources from Hawaii’s monarchy era available online on Thursday, May 6, to celebrate Asian American Pacific Islander Month and in partnership with Google.

Online users can view Hawaiian Kingdom royal orders, handwritten letters by monarchs and many other treasures from the Palace.

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The executive director of The Friends of Iolani Palace says the new resource allows the community to connect with the Palace in a new way.

“We often herald King Kalakaua as an ‘early-adopter’ of technology, as he was among the first to embrace electric lights and innovations like the telephone, this partnership with Google Arts & Culture is certainly in the same spirit. While nothing replaces an in-person visit to the Palace, this new online resource allows people to connect with the Palace in a fresh way.”

Paula Akana, Executive Director of The Friends of Iolani Palace

Some interesting items of the online exhibition include:

  • The Grand Cross of the Royal Order of Kamehameha I, Hawaii’s most prestigious order.
  • A handwritten letter from King Kalakaua to his sister, Princess Liliuokalani, with a sketch of a lighthouse he saw as he sailed across the Red Sea.
  • The Grand Cross of St. Michael and St. George bestowed upon Kalakaua by Queen Victoria; the royal order was reserved only for sovereigns.

The handwriting in King Kalakaua’s letters can be viewed in never-before-scene definition due to a photo-capturing process that enables the highest-ever resolution of the image, according to officials.

There is also a virtual exhibit of King Kalakaua’s 1881 World Tour that tells his story of circumnavigating the globe, including stops in San Francisco, Japan, China, across Europe and his visit with Queen Victoria in England.

Click here to view the virtual exhibition of Hawaii’s monarchy era.