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Laupahoehoe Tsunami Will Strike Museum on April 24th!
A tsunami will strike Hilo on April 24, 1999.  There is no cause for alarm; this tsunami is going on inside the Pacific Tsunami Museum.  As staff and volunteers have been hard at work, it sometimes looks as though large waves have struck the building!  Come see what all the commotion is about on April 24, when the Museum opens their new exhibit-- Laupahoehoe.
The Laupahoehoe exhibit highlights a place well known for the disaster that struck its shores on April 1, 1946.  However, there is far more to Laupahoehoe than the tsunami tragedy.  The Laupahoehoe exhibit is a tribute to a productive community that was devastated by the 1946 tsunami.  When the tsunami claimed the lives of many students and teachers, the community was changed forever.
"But the most sad thing to see were the people bobbing up and down in the water...friends and relatives swept into the ocean. My Grandma remembers crying because she could see her friends and classmates in the water and she couldn't help them."
Jaci K.S.S. Coloma, 1998 Tsunami Essay Contest winner, writing of her Grandmother, Leonie Kawaihona Laeha Poy's experience as a high school student in Laupahoehoe on April 1, 1946.
The exhibit design is a community effort, working in conjunction with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).  FEMA Project Manager, Dr. Walter Dudley heads a dynamic group of volunteers: Rob Abe, Michael Childers, John Coney, Cyrus Faryar, Valerie Ferrari, Aubrey Ghen, Jackie Pualani Johnson, Harry and Carrie Luke-Knotts, Dick Mortemore, Jill Sommer, and Jane Uyehara.
This committee has combined their talents to create the setting and tell the stories of Laupahoehoe, from Hawaiian legends, through the heyday of sugar, shipping, and the railway.  The exhibit includes two video kiosks, with detailed narratives of pre and post tsunami life.  Interviews of tsunami survivors are part of this exhibit; the emotional impact speaks volumes that mere scientific statistics will never convey.   The exhibit concludes with stories of the aftermath of a community which has pulled together to become stronger as a result of this tragedy.  Displayed in the stage area is a memorial quilt created by students of Laupahoehoe school.  It includes the names of those lost in the 1946 tsunami, but remembered still.
Laupahoehoe is the first of eleven permanent exhibits at Pacific Tsunami Museum.   When complete, the Museum will serve the community and State as an interactive education facility preserving the multi-cultural stories of our communities, the social, economic and cultural impact of our past tsunamis, and priceless memories for generations to come.  More importantly, the displays will highlight the protective measures that individuals should take with an impending tsunami threat to ensure public safety.
There will be many opportunities for community input and participation as exhibits are created over the next eighteen months. Please let us know if you would like to support and participate in this rewarding community endeavor. Call us at 935-0926.
Let us not forget.

All materials © Copyright 1996-2007 Pacific Tsunami Museum Inc.
130 Kamehameha Ave Hilo, HI 96720 tel: 808-935-0926 FAX: 808-935-0842 email:
Last Revised November 2007