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Polynesian Voyagers

Polynesian Voyagers opened October 1, 2016 in conjunction with Hokule’a‘s second visit to Hampton Roads. This exhibition features the time-honored navigational skills of the Polynesian navigators who relied on their knowledge of waves, winds, stars, and nature instead of modern instruments.

In collaboration with Hawaiian educators, the Hokule’a crew and staff, and the Polynesian community, this new exhibition is designed to evoke the feeling of what it is to be a voyager. Guests encounter displays demonstrating the origin of the Polynesian culture and community and how they are inherently maritime focused. With an emphasis on navigational techniques that precede technology, the exhibition guides visitors through the story of exploration and settlement of the vast Pacific islands. Polynesian Voyagers features the traditional supplies and methods encountered on a Polynesian voyaging canoe, and guests are able to listen to Polynesian chants that would have been used in ancient times to share history among civilizations without a common language.

Sponsored by

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Polynesian Voyagers Activities

Family Hula Workshop

Saturday, January 21 · 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM

FREE with Museum admission

In conjunction with The Mariners’ Museum’s newest exhibition, Polynesian Voyagers, join us for a hula dancing workshop! Hula is a Polynesian art form, developed in Hawaii but now practiced worldwide. Its steps are easy to learn, but take time and practice to master. Come learn the basics of hula with the dancers and musicians of Hawaiian Style Halau! No experience is required, and all ages and abilities are welcome.

Navigating by the Stars

Saturday, January 28 · 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM

$10 ($5 for Members)

For centuries, sailors have been looking to the stars to find their way across the oceans. But the stars can be used in many different ways. Polynesian navigators were just as effective as Europeans, but their strategies were unique. Join us for a unique stargazing and navigational experience, as we learn about navigational techniques from two cultures, and our friends from the Virginia Living Museum help us find the important stars in our night sky.

Register Online Here

Hawaiian Quilting Workshop

Saturday, March 18 · 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM

$40 ($25 for Members)

In this workshop, we’ll learn about the history and significance of quilting in Hawaiian culture. Our teacher, Lisa Noelani Robbins, is a sixth-generation quilter and instructor in many Hawaiian cultural arts. She’ll teach us the basics of design, cutting, layout, and needle-turn appliqué techniques needed to produce a small quilted piece. Students will bring their own materials.

This workshop is cancelled.

Special Earth Day Program: New Explorations of Island Earth

Saturday, April 22 · 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM

Free with Museum admission

Throughout the day, we will highlight the amazing work going on here in Virginia and across the ocean to learn about and protect our planet. Visit with scientists from Virginia Sea Grant, and learn about their cutting-edge marine science research. Talk to conservationists working with Newport News Shipyard to restore Virginia’s longleaf pine tree population. And check in with the Polynesian Voyaging Society as the Hokule’a sails across the Pacific Ocean in the style of ancient Polynesian navigators.

Earth Day programming will take place in the Museum’s main lobby.

Family Workshop: Polynesian Storytelling

Saturday, May 13 · 10:00 AM & 2:00 PM

Free with Museum admission

Please join us for a special family event at The Mariners’ Museum and Park as we explore the rich variety of Polynesian storytelling traditions. From stories about family history, to tales about the gods, to the arts of hula and tapa cloth, Polynesian cultures have developed wondrous ways to remember their past and share their traditions with their communities. Ashley O’Donovan, an educator with her own Polynesian heritage, will share some of her traditions and teach us how we all can tell stories with our own families.

Space is limited, so please RSVP below: