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Article Source: Copyright © 2012 by Fodor’s Travel, a division of Random House Inc. All rights reserved.
Smack-dab in the center of Front Street, this eye-catching Chinese temple reflects the importance of early Chinese immigrants to Lahaina. Built by the Wo Hing Society in 1912, the museum contains beautiful artifacts, historic photos of old Lahaina, and a Taoist altar. Don't miss the films playing in the rustic theater next door—some of Thomas Edison's first films, shot in Hawaii circa 1898, show Hawaiian wranglers herding steer onto ships. Ask the docent for some star fruit from the tree outside, for the altar or for yourself. COST: $7. OPEN: Sat.--Thurs. 10--4, Fri. 1--8 pm.
The skeleton of a massive whale leads the way to the Whale Center of the Pacific on the second floor of Whalers Village. Here you can learn about the hard life of whalers during the 19th-century Moby-Dick era. A replica of their living quarters, their tools and equipment, their letters and business papers, and other artifacts are on display. Many historical photos illustrate how the whalers chased and captured these giants of the deep and how they processsed their catch while out at sea. Several short films run continuously, including one about Hawaiian turtles and the folklore surrounding them. www.whalersvillage.com/museum.htm. COST: $3. OPEN: Daily 10--6.
Protestant missionaries established Lahainaluna Seminary as a center of learning and enlightenment in 1831. Six years later, they built this printing shop, where they and their young Hawaiian scholars created a written Hawaiian language and used it to produce a Bible, history texts, and a newspaper. An exhibit displays a replica of the original Rampage press and facsimiles of early printing. The oldest U.S. educational institution west of the Rockies, the seminary now serves as Lahaina's public high school. COST: Donations accepted. OPEN: Mon.--Wed. 10--4; Thurs. and Fri. by appointment.
Maui's largest landowner, A&B was one of the "Big Five" companies that spearheaded the planting, harvesting, and processing of sugarcane. At this museum, historic photos, artifacts, and documents explain the introduction of sugarcane to Hawaii. Exhibits reveal how plantations brought in laborers from other countries, forever changing the Islands' ethnic mix. Although Hawaiian cane sugar is now being supplanted by cheaper foreign versions—as well as by sugar derived from inexpensive sugar beets—the crop was for many years the mainstay of the local economy. You can find the museum in a small, restored plantation manager's house across the street from the post office and the still-operating sugar refinery, where smoke billows up when cane is being processed. www.sugarmuseum.com. COST: $7. OPEN: Daily 9:30--4:30; last admission at 4.
Robert Wyland is a globally celebrated artist known for his gigantic murals of whales, dolphins, and other marine life. Enjoy his artwork—along with some from other fine artists—at his namesake gallery in Lahaina. www.wyland.com.
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