Associate Curator of Native Hawaiian History and Culture, National Museum of the American Indian
Halena Kapuni-Reynolds (Kanaka ʻŌiwi/Native Hawaiian) is the Associate Curator of Native Hawaiian History and Culture at the National Museum of the American Indian. He holds a B.A. in anthropology and Hawaiian studies from the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo (2013) and an M.A. in anthropology with a focus on Museum and Heritage Studies from the University of Denver (2015). His master’s thesis, titled “Curating Aliʻi Collections: Responsibility, Sensibility, and Contextualization in Hawaiʻi-Based Museums,” analyzed the ways in which aliʻi (Hawaiian chiefly) collections are cared for and exhibited at the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum (Kaiwiʻula, Oʻahu) and the Lyman House Memorial Museum (Hilo, Hawaiʻi). Currently, Halena is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of American Studies at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, where he is finishing a dissertation that tells a decolonial story of the ʻāina aloha (beloved lands) of Keaukaha.
Halena’s academic work and scholarship reflect his commitment to serving his community, Hawaiʻi’s museum profession, and the fields of museum anthropology and Indigenous studies. He serves as a board member for the International Institute in Indigenous Resource Management and the Council for Museum Anthropology (a section of the American Anthropological Association) and recently became an advisory board member for the East Hawaiʻi Cultural Center. Between 2019-2020, he served on the board of the Hawaiʻi Museums Association, where he helped to produce a series of workshops titled Mākau Moʻomeheu: Cultural Competence in Hawaiʻi’s Museums (https://www.hawaiimuseums.org/makau/), and co-organized their 2020 annual meeting focused on issues of museum accessibility in Hawaiʻi. Halena currently serves as the Graduate Assistant for the Museum Studies Graduate Certificate Program at UH-Mānoa, where he works collaboratively with faculty members to organize conversations and events around museum decolonization and Indigenization. Most recently, he assisted in the development and implementation of Weaving a Net(work) of Care: A Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Museum Institute, a museological training program funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (https://sites.google.com/hawaii.edu/nhpimi/home).