The Honouliuli National Monument in Kunia on O‘ahu was recently documented by Mid-Pacific Institute students, thanks to a partnership with CyArk and support from the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service and the Japanese American Confinement Sites Program.
The Honouliuli documentation was one of many projects undertaken in teacher Heather Calabro’s elective class on historical preservation. The class fulfills a social studies and technology credit and is offered to juniors and seniors. Students learn how to use a Faro laser scanner, which allows them to digitally preserve historically significant artifacts in 3D, with up to 1mm accuracy.
CyArk is a nonprofit organization that was founded in 2003. Its mission is to ensure that heritage sites are available to future generations before they are “lost to natural disasters, destroyed by human aggression or are ravaged by the passage of time,” as stated on its website.
Landmarks and heritage sites are digitally mapped and information and other resource materials are incorporated into website pages so that the public, especially students, can learn more about them. Among the projects that can be viewed on the CyArk website are the Hopi Petroglyph Sites, Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Xochicalco in Mexico, the Assyrian Collection of the British Museum in Iran, the Eastern Qing Tombs in China and the Parthenon in Greece.
MPI president Dr. Paul Turnbull had a working relationship with CyArk prior to joining the school. When he became president in 2012, he resumed his relationship with CyArk with the goal making MPI a CyArk Technology Center. It involves forming a partnership between CyArk and an education institution in which a curriculum is developed and integrated with a partner institution. Students learn the same skill set that professionals learn and the projects foster sustainability of CyArk’s digital preservation mission. The technology centers also create a venue to share the cultural information with the general public.
“There is always a relationship between culture, community and history,” Turnbull said, adding that such programs allow schools to “move from traditional to progressive education.”
The documentation of Honouliuli involved conducting research at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i, an on-site visit to Honouliuli, where students looked for artifacts, took photographs and kept journals about their experience.
The students sent information taken from scans of the site and historic photographs to CyArk, which then created a three-dimensional model of what the structures looked like.
The students prevented their findings and project work at a public event on April 20. Senior John Yen shared what he and other classmates did at Honouliuli. He said their research and site visit enabled them to experience Honouliuli for themselves, and that “the experience will last with them forever.”
Senior Samantha Komiyama and junior Troy Owens, who did not join the class until after the Honouliuli project, explained the logistics of 3D technology. One of their current projects is the scanning of the coronation pavilion at ‘Iolani Palace.
The event was attended by first lady of Hawai‘i Dawn Amano-Ige, who was an educator prior to becoming first lady; CyArk board member John Ristevski; Rebecca Rinas of the National Park Service; and Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i volunteers Jane Kurahara and Betsy Young, who were instrumental in identifying, documenting and evaluating a plan to preserve the Honouliuli confinement site.
“The students will remember Honouliuli because of how in-depth the experience was,” Calabro said, adding that for any project, students must make it something personal, visit the site, connect with it and make it a part of their life.