Aloha from all of us at ‘Ulu‘ulu!
As this challenging year comes to a close, I think we can all empathize with the readers of the Washington Post who were asked to describe 2020 in one word or phrase and they responded with “exhausting,” “lost,” “chaotic,” and “dumpster fire.” But in the midst of this exhausting and chaotic year, there were also many uplifting and positive moments that we experienced at ‘Ulu‘ulu which fit other descriptive phrases from the Post readers.
“Transformative.” Our UH West O‘ahu campus closed to the public on March 20, 2020 and ‘Ulu‘ulu, like all other departments across the UH System, very quickly transformed our in-person operations into a robust telework environment. We successfully pivoted to working from home, relying on remote communication with our researchers and students, as well as with each other. Zoom meetings, our online catalog and streaming server, and the Ask an Archivist reference portal became even more crucial tools and transformed the way we deliver our services.
“Perseverance.” I applaud our ‘Ulu‘ulu team for its perseverance in 2020. Despite our limited on-site presence at the archive, we were able to provide preservation, cataloging, collection care, research assistance and access to the footage in our collections. We completed digitization projects supported by grants from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Hawaiian Legacy Foundation, and Frank Moy and Marcia Mau. We continued our work with the Bishop Museum nitrate film collection, supported by the Hawai‘i Council for the Humanities. And we implemented our closed captioning program, transcribing and captioning over 600 video clips now streaming on our website.
“Six feet apart, yet closer than ever.” We were able to remain close with our researchers through our digital collections, which reached numerous audiences this year. We were thrilled to partner with the Polynesian Voyaging Society to screen four films and a live panel as part of the “Made in Hawai‘i: Visions of Hōkūleʻa” program during the HIFF 2020 online film festival. And we launched the web series “‘Ulu‘ulu Zoom Time” featuring interviews with some of the people who have contributed to our archival film and video collections. These conversations shed a light on the importance of archives, especially while we are apart.
We’d like to share more highlights from 2020 and wish you all the best for 2021!
Mahalo nui loa for your support!