The King Kamehameha V Judiciary History Center (the Center) is an administrative program of the Hawaii State Judiciary and a permanent educational institution created to inform and provide learning opportunities about the judicial process and Hawaii’s legal history from pre-contact to present.
Since Hawaii’s initial settlement, the concept of justice in Hawaii has changed. Through successive Polynesian migrations, western contact and subsequent immigration, forms of justice, economy, religion, and family have undergone transformation. The Judiciary History Center, through it exhibitions, research, and educational programs, explores changes in the concept of justice over time in Hawaii. How has a legal system combining both Hawaiian and western cultural values developed? Where does our unique legal system place us in today’s world?
Since the Center opened in 1989, a growing body of scholarship has emerged and continues to expand, revealing previously untold elements of Hawaii’s legal history, including an array of indigenous and non-western immigrant voices. As more is revealed of the past, the Center will strive to improve the experience of current and future visitors and continue to serve as a bridge between the Judiciary and the community.