Whalers Village Museum

What do you do for a week in Maui when you’ve been there before?  Several times.  Even in Hawaii I can’t resist a museum.  Last year we went to the Sugar Museum. Whalers Village Museum wasn’t listed on the top 10 things to do in Maui in our KBC planning calendar, but we really enjoyed this compact, top-notch museum.

Upstairs in Whaler’s Village

Fishing is a… discipline in the equality of men – for all men are equal before fish. –Herbert Hoover

This next picture impressed me because of the diversity of the workers in the middle 1800s, included native Hawaiians, Negroes, Europeans, sons of wealthy Americans, and native Americans.  Whalers lived together for 3-5 years for a total income of about $50.  The conditions would appall the poorest of the poor by today’s standards.  Whaling ships stored so little water that sailors usually washed their few clothes in urine.

The oldest whalers were in their late 20s.

They spent most of their time carving  scrimshaw and waiting for whales to appear.


Incredibly ornate carvings in ivory or teeth helped sailors whittle away the long evening hours.

Jaws lost his dentures.

I’m sure the sailors saw their fair share of these happy snappers.  The day after we left Maui one shark attacked a swimmer at one of the beaches we visited in southern Maui.

These guys look like they are having a whale of a good time.

Whaling, I learned, provided the world with most of its heating oil before fossil fuels were discovered in the 1800s.  The cost of heating and lighting oil in the 1800s cost 3-5 years out of around 100,000 lives of these young men.  I read a report once that stated that the beginning use of fossil fuels improved the economic conditions worldwide.  Reading about the conditions under which these young men labored helps understand why whale oil was so cost-prohibitive, even without factoring the cost of depleting the population of whales.

Whaler’s Museum is upstairs under the clock tower.

If you get to Maui, take a few minutes away from shopping to sneak up to the Whalers Village Museum.  Then go downstairs and fix yourself a yogurt sundae sold by the pound.  (That’s not the amount of pounds it puts on you!!!  WHEW!!)

I hope you enjoyed your brief museum tour.  Next stop tomorrow:  Coffee Plantation  Also today a brief look at Mama’s Fish House.