Mānoa Heritage Center was first introduced to Mid-Pacific Institute’s Historic Preservation course back in 2017 when students scanned Kūkaʻōʻō Heiau using a 3-D Lidar Scanner. This year, challenged by COVID safety protocols, Historic Preservation teacher Billie Napoleon approached Mānoa Heritage Center about the possibility of supporting students in creating a podcast about Mānoa Valley. Beginning with a virtual tour of Kūkaʻōʻō Heiau, the students then connected with people and places throughout the Valley. Read Brooke Johnson’s (one of Ms. Napoleon’s students) experience of creating the podcast below. Then listen to the student created podcasts linked below.
The name of this class, Historic Preservation, is somewhat self explanatory. We learn about historic sites, places that are important in some way, shape, or form, and the ways they are preserved. This project took a modern approach to preservation: podcasting. A step away from the conventional ways of documenting places, charting maps, and preventing construction plans from bulldozing over areas with cultural significance, podcasting accomplishes many of the goals that align with historic preservation. It is a form of storytelling, educating the listener about the topic and, most importantly, why they should care. To launch this project we began by doing a series of virtual field trips with one main question as the focus: “Why does Mānoa Valley matter?” First on the list was the Mānoa Heritage Center. There couldn’t have been a more perfect way to begin ruminating on this question. The class was given information on a myriad of topics relating to the valley. My partner and I were personally inspired by the native Hawaiian plants grown at the heritage center and went on to craft our podcast around their uses.
Of course, in the ideal world we would have attended these field trips in person and chanted E Hō Mai without an audio lag. We were presented with many challenges because of the virtual environment we were in while doing this project. Many of us have learned that, in general, collaboration feels stunted when it occurs entirely through technology. For my group, such difficulties surfaced during the editing process. It was harder to divide and conquer when it came to searching for sound effects and music; at one point we spent an entire class period separately learning the same GarageBand trick that would have likely taken twenty minutes if we were next to each other, talking it out over the same screen. These struggles aside, by listening to the podcasts I believe the remote nature of the project is not obvious. We, as a class, made the most of an unsavory situation, the outcome being these podcasts. Hopefully by listening to them you will leave with a deeper understanding of why Mānoa Valley matters.