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Students say Queen Emma’s Summer Palace stands as a symbol of appreciation for Hawaiian history

Queen Emma Palace.jpg

Nestled deep in the lush mountains of Oahu lies the Summer Palace belonging to Queen Emma. The historic site is used to teach visitors about Hawaiian history. Visitors and BYU–Hawaii students say the site should remind people of the importance of appreciating the local history.

Dawn Santiago, a tour guide at the Queen Emma Summer Palace in Nu’uanu, Oahu, said visiting the Queen Emma Summer Palace, on the list of the National Historic Registry, “opens up a world of Hawaii and provides people an opportunity to learn about the Hawaiian culture and history.”

According to, the Queen Emma Summer Palace was the secluded mountain-home and summer retreat of Queen Emma of Hawai’i from 1857 to 1885, her husband King Kamehameha IV and their son, Prince Albert Edward. Situated in the coolness of Nu’uanu Valley [by the Pali highway], the home was used as a retreat for the royal family to escape the oppressive heat of Honolulu.

The Palace is home to a collection of Queen Emma’s belongings, antiques, furnishings and royal regalia. Today, the Palace is a historic landmark, museum and tourist site preserved by the Daughters of Hawai’i. The palace is open for public viewing and also offers guided tours for visitors to learn about the Palace, Hawaiian royal history and Hawaiian culture.

Santiago shared, “Learning about the rich Hawaiian history and culture can really help those who only come to live in Hawaii for short periods of time respect these islands and those that have gone before us in making these islands so special.

Malinda Rogers, a senior social work major from Colorado, said, “I want to honor the people of the land hosting me. This is something from the beginning that I’ve wanted to find ways to be able to learn and respect the land.

“I’ve tried learning about Hawaii by going to the Heiau, learning Hiki Mai, going to the Iolani Palace and now I’m trying to read up about Hawaiian history.”

Believing Hawaiian Studies 101 should be a required class, Hyrum Kim, a sophomore majoring in Hawaiian studies and biology from the Big Island, said students who come to BYU­H should “absolutely” learn about the Hawaiian culture. “It’s only right that foreigners who come here should learn about the place they are staying. I would like to say students should take initiative, but I don’t think they usually do.”

Rogers said students should take advantage of opportunities to learn about Hawaiian culture and history, which includes going out and visiting historical sites. “There are a lot of opportunities here to learn about people and it’s really about looking for those opportunities and showing a humble curiosity, a desire to learn more and understanding things.

“I feel like in learning about the history of Hawaii and learning of the people, in a way I show my gratitude and appreciation. I’m not saying that I am Hawaiian now, but I can respect and appreciate the culture that is hosting me.”

Queen Emma Summer Palace is open on Monday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. General admission is $10 and guided tours are free with admission, running throughout the day. For more information, visit