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Sustainability Champion: Michael Wilson

Cover Image: Michael sailing on the Hikianalia with the Polynesian Voyaging Society in Lalo (The French Frigate Shoals).

Image: Michael testing the Photo Op during installation of Expedition Dinosaur: Rise of the Mammals. October 2021

Who are you, what do you do at Bishop Museum, and how did you get here?

My name is Michael Wilson. I have been working at the Museum as an exhibit designer since 2014. My job is to present scientific and cultural knowledge and artifacts selected through the vision of a curator and the educational lens of the Museum in an engaging and comprehensive way to the widest and most diverse audience possible. I think I came to the Museum because it is the culmination of all the jobs I had before.

Why is sustainability important to you at Bishop Museum, in Hawaiʻi, and globally?

Sustainability is the capacity to endure. As an institution that holds the cultural and scientific knowledge of Polynesia and the greater Pacific in collections, nothing could be more important to the Museum than sustainability. As a state that ships in most of its energy and food, and that has more endangered species than any other, Hawai‘i needs sustainability more than most. And as a state with a strong and vibrant indigenous host culture with thousands of years of knowledge about sustainability, we have much to offer the world. “He waʻa he moku, he moku he waʻ”

Image: Michael at the opening of Kaula Piko: The Source of Strings, July 18th, 2020

What sustainability projects have you been working on at Bishop Museum?

While the Exhibits Department is experimenting with sustainable graphics, and I am currently involved with the Ki Futures Sustainability Workshops, many of our projects involve promoting sustainability partners in exhibits. In the Lele O Nā Manu exhibit we featured the many organizations working to save our native birds; in Holo Moana we deep-dived into the Hawaiian sustainability concept of mālama honua as promoted by the Polynesian Voyaging Society; and in our surfing exhibit Mai Kinohi Mai we highlighted the many connections between surfers and nature conservation.

Image: Michael sailing on the Hikianalia with the Polynesian Voyaging Society in Lalo (The French Frigate Shoals). June 2021

What do you enjoy outside of work?

Outside of my work at the Museum, I greatly enjoy longboard surfing with friends, being a crew member for the Polynesian Voyaging Society, working on my land in Puna, and having delicious food adventures with my beautiful wife.

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