By Kayleen Su’e
Honolulu CC Journalism 204 student
One of the few museums dedicated to the history of African ancestry in Hawaii is located across Ala Moana, right above the Hawaii National Bank. There you will find Deloris Guttman, one of the board members and an expert on the topic.
“Our goal is to educate young people about Hawaiian history, specifically about African history in Hawaii,” Guttman said, “and our mission is to motivate young people to be able to reach their aspirations. Look at our 44th president! He’s from here, and if he can do it so can you!”
Situated on the second floor of the building, in suite 203, the museum is decorated from top to bottom with pictures of African people and their descendants, handcrafted African woodcarvings, and an array of books and documents containing history about Africans in Hawaii.
Outside the room stands a life size cut out of Barrack Obama and a banner that stretches across the entire wall.
When asked what kind of visitors the museum gets, Guttman said, “Oh, we have all sorts of visitors that come here. I have a whole book of them. People from all over the world come here. All sorts of ethnicities come here, especially white and black people. Ever since we started using Obama’s name, people have been coming by the bus loads!”
Guttman, who has a master’s in museum education, created this place in 1997 with the help of her husband. The museum has remained at its current location since the year 2000, and Guttman says that she works there seven days a week.
Working closely with Guttamn are her paid-interns, like Ivanna-Ajee Dolic.
“Oh, I love working here! This is the best job I think I’ve ever had, to be honest,” Dolic shared. “I would argue that Deloris [Guttman] has created the biggest archive on the African community in Hawaii. Now, I’m able to become an expert on things I never knew about or had access to.”
The museum participates in a program called the Hawaiian African Youth Enrichment Program. This in-school program allows Guttman and others from her team to visit schools and share their knowledge with kids from kindergarten to twelfth grade. Some schools that participate in this program are Moanalua Middle, Washington Middle, and James Campbell High.
“What we do is visit Social Studies teachers and learn their lesson plan. From there we add what we want to share and help supplement their lessons,” Dolic said.
“And what we do here is essential because we’re keeping African history in Hawaii intact.”
The museum has a website where it keeps track of all the events that take place in the upcoming weeks and months.
One special event happens in February, also known as national Black History Month, where Guttman and her team showcase their collections in an exhibit held in City Hall.
For more information, visit https://aadcch.org/ or visit the museum in person at 1311 Kapiolani Blvd, Suites 203 and 207.