- Associated Press - Sunday, December 21, 2014

WAILUKI, Hawaii (AP) - The Makawao History Museum moved to a new location last month to gain more exposure within the Makawao community. The museum now is at 3643 Baldwin Ave., the main street of Makawao town, in a “quaint little spot right at the heart of town,” project coordinator Cheryl Ambrozic said Tuesday.

The museum opened last year as the Makawao History Project in the former Randy Braun Gallery at 1152 Makawao Ave., using a $22,000 grant from the county Small Town Planning Grant Program.

However, “Makawao Avenue was kind of way out; people weren’t really going that way,” Ambrozic told The Maui News (https://is.gd/dN5cqL).

After a year at the Makawao Avenue location, the board of directors and advisers of the Makawao History Museum jumped at the opportunity to move to its new location, where they have since received greater exposure due to increased foot traffic.

“That main strip is where all the traffic is. The people coming to visit Makawao mainly stay on that main road where all the shops are. Now they can stop by when they’re shopping around and learn about the town while they’re there,” Ambrozic said.

The space on Baldwin Avenue was formerly occupied by Aloha Cowboy for nine years. Since closing, Aloha Cowboy has donated to the museum a Christmas tree previously owned by Makawao Steak House that was decorated with 30 years’ worth of Western, rodeo-themed ornaments.

The Makawao History Project underwent a name change in February, becoming the Makawao History Museum to give the establishment a sense of permanence in the community.

The goal of the museum is to educate visitors and residents about Makawao’s rich history, which includes its establishment in ancient Hawaii, its place in the rise of the sugar industry, and the creation of its paniolo and rodeo culture.

“People have always been curious about Makawao town. They know that it’s a cool paniolo town, but we want to show that it’s also so much more. We want to open up the history book so people can see the diversity and richness that’s there,” Ambrozic said.

Since its opening on Nov. 15, 2013, Ambrozic, the board of directors and advisers have focused mainly on fundraising, obtaining grants and recruiting volunteers to “keep the lights on and the place open,” Ambrozic said.

The museum hosted a grand opening ceremony at Makawao’s Third Friday Party on Nov. 21 at which people enjoyed food donated by Polli’s Mexican Restaurant and Casanova Italian Restaurant & Deli. The museum’s new cookbook and walking map also were released at that time.

The cookbook, “Look What’s Cooking in Makawao,” was released to raise funds using a $10,000 grant from the Atherton Family Foundation. The book is available for purchase with a $20 donation at the museum.

The museum also created the Historical Makawao Walking Tour, which is “a self-guided tour that will tell the history of each building,” Ambrozic said. It is available at the museum for a donation of $1.

In order to build on the walking map tour, museum officials hope to install identification plaques on each building featured in the tour that will include information such as when each building was built and who occupied them. The identification plaques are projected to be put up over the course of 2015 using a $5,000 grant from the Cooke Foundation and a $3,300 grant from the Fred Baldwin Memorial.

The county Office of Economic Development also has given the museum a grant of $15,000 to assist with overhead costs.

Aside from installing identification plaques throughout Makawao, the museum hopes to purchase frames for its photographs over the coming year and to continue raising money and securing volunteers.

Because the Baldwin Avenue location is smaller than the old location and because of the move, the museum has had to return some artifacts to donors. However, the museum still maintains many of the photographs, saddles and machinery donated.

Tax-deductible donations to the Makawao History Museum may be mailed to Tri Isle RC&D; at P.O. Box 338, Kahului 96733. For more information about volunteering or donating artifacts, call Ambrozic at 283-3732.

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Information from: The Maui News, https://www.mauinews.com

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