The National Museum of the American Indian is paying tribute to the late Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, a proud Pacific Islander who served as one of the founding directors for the interactive exhibition hall, as part of its “Living Aloha” festival.
Just don’t expect too big of a production if you visit.
Upon entering the funky, four-story structure, patrons are handed a snazzy brochure retracing the steps of the iconic Hawaii Democrat through the years.
The lobby, however, is dominated by a ring of arts and crafts stations dedicated to sharing native art forms with curious onlookers.
For God’s sake, the World War II veteran, long-standing lawmaker and Asian-American role model spent more than half a century on Capitol Hill; several decades were occupied by stints on the Indian Affairs Committee and influential Appropriations panel.
Per the accompanying placard, Inouye’s widow, Irene Hirano Inouye, donated the one-of-a-kind keepsakes (“only a small fraction of what Sen. Inouye received from grateful tribal nations”) in order to provide a peek into the lasting effects of a lifetime dedicated to public service.
Hence the reason the museum elected to carve out some space to showcase a few of the cultural treasures — six, to be exact — the powerful pol amassed throughout his epic career.
That legacy has been relegated to two display cases.
Then again, the Spartan showcase does occupy some choice real estate: directly opposite the award-winning Mitsitam Café .