Robert Burns Day slated for Jan. 27

Celebrate Robert Burns Day at the Lyman Museum 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 27, as Big Island historian Boyd D. Bond introduces some of the leading lights of the Scottish diaspora to Hawaii.

The Scots have a surprisingly long and influential history in the Hawaiian Islands, spanning decades of change.

Men and women of Scotland found their way to the Hawaiian Kingdom beginning in the early 19th century, as sailors and talented beachcombers became attached to the chiefly families of different islands.

A second wave of Scots from the late 1870s through World War I brought many folks who would play important roles in the economic, political and, of course, technological development of Hawaii.

So dominant were the Scottish managers in the sugar plantations of Kohala and the east coast of the Big Island that the latter would come to be known as the “Scotch Coast.”

Hawaiian King David Kalakaua visited Scotland during his round-the-world travels, and his niece and heir, the beautiful Princess Ka‘iulani, was half Scottish.

A third wave, from the 1920s through statehood in 1959, brought many family members of the second wave from the “auld country” — and through all three periods, visiting artists, writers and naturalists of Scottish origin also left their mark on the islands, as, indeed, Hawaii would transform them.

The Smithsonian-affiliated Lyman Museum, at 276 Haili St., showcases the natural and cultural history of Hawaii.

Doors open 6:30 p.m. for evening public programs.

Cost is $3; free to Lyman Museum members.

Additional parking is available at Hilo Union School.

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