Lyman House Memorial Museum
History and museums
The Lyman House Memorial Museum, also known as the Lyman Museum, is a Hilo, Hawaii-based natural history museum founded in 1931 in the Lyman family mission house, originally built in 1838. The main collections were moved to an adjacent modern building in the 1960s, while the house is open for tours as the islands oldest surviving wood-framed building.
Reverend David Belden Lyman and his wife, Sarah Joiner Lyman, arrived in 1832, missionaries from the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. It was one of the first houses on the island to be built in the style of their native New England, using native koa and ohia woods. Guests included Mark Twain and Isabella Bird. In 1854 - 1859 the new Haili Church was built across the street, replacing the thatched structures that served previously for the congregation.
The mission house was added to the National Register of Historic Places on March 24, 1978 as site 78001012. It is located at 276 Haili Street in Hilo, coordinates 19°43′18″N 155°5′28″W.
Almost a century after the missionaries' arrival, a museum was founded in 1931 by their descendents.
In the late 1960s noted architect Vladimir Ossipoff designed and built a Museum building adjacent to the mission house. Upon its completion, the Museum moved there and expanded its exhibits. It has extensive displays on Hawaiian culture and is renowned for its collection of shells and minerals, including a specimen of orlymanite, named for Orlando Hammond Lyman (1903–1986), the museum's founder and great grandson of David and Sarah Lyman. The Museum has been an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution since 2002.