Mānoa Heritage Center


MHC is led by a group of committed volunteers representing diverse sectors of our community.

Scott B. Power (President)

Mary M. Cooke (Vice-President)

Helen Nakano (Secretary)

David Lee (Treasurer)

Maenette Ah Nee Benham

Beryl B. Blaich

Mark Burak

Catherine L. Cooke

Julie Cooke

Ian Fitz-Patrick

Jack Gillmar

Patricia Halagao

Lynne Johnson

Susan Shaner

Sam A. Cooke (Founder Emeritus)

Carol M. Fox (Emeritus)


Jenny Engle

Director of Education

Jenny Engle brings almost 20 years of experience designing museum education programs that engage students and help teachers. She has a Masters of Education in Arts in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and a Bachelor of Arts in Art History from Kenyon College, OH.

Emily Fay

Development Officer (Part-time)

Emily Fay has worked in advancement for 25+ years. Prior to joining MHC, she worked for the University of Hawaii Foundation, for many academic areas including Lyon Arboretum and Hawai‘inuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge. She loves working for MHC because she believes that stewarding Hawaiʻi’s native plants, preserving this historic site, and sharing the cultural history of Hawai’i and its plants, is crucial to everyone doing their part to preserve our fragile environment.

Kelsey Hara

Digital Content Specialist (Part-time)

Kelsey Hara is a graduate of UH Mānoa with a Masterʻs degree in Library & Information Science and a graduate certificate in Museum Studies the latter of which provided an introduction to MHC. Starting as an intern and now working on staff, her position focuses on growing online audiences via MHC’s website, social media platforms, and e-newsletters. Aside from exploring MHC’s garden of rare native plants, Kelsey enjoys baking, crocheting, and gardening. 

Jenny Leung

Cultural Site Manager

Jenny Leung is a specialist in collections management and historic preservation. She lives in Mānoa Valley, in the shadow of Kauhi, the Sleeping Giant.

Kanoa Nakamura

Garden & Grounds Assistant (Part-time)

MHC’s Gardens and Grounds Assistant, Kanoa Nakamura, is part of the team that stewards and shares MHC’s gardens with school groups of all ages. Born and raised in Waimānalo, Kanoa has a passion for native plants and is working towards a degree in the UH system. When he’s not at MHC, Kanoa can be found surfing and volunteering for island-wide restoration efforts.

Kevin Prior


As MHC’s first full-time Caretaker, Kevin ensures that our buildings and physical assets are well-managed and maintained. Originally from Pennsylvania, Kevin grew up on a farm, is a certified machinist, and moved to Hawaiʻi in 2009. 

Jessica Welch

Executive Director

Jessica Welch grew up all over the world and has worked in museums for nearly two decades. She believes in the power of cultural sites to help humans connect, learn more about themselves, and their place in the world.

Keʻala Wong

Education Assistant and Cultural Steward

Lindsey Ke‘ala Wong is a graduate from Kamehameha Kapālama (2009) and the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa (2014/2020) where she received a BA in Hawaiian Studies/Hawaiian Language and a MA in STEMS^2 Education. She is passionate about perpetuating ‘ike Hawai‘i and appreciates the Cooke ‘ohana and what they stand for: cultural preservation through education.

MHC’s gardens are lovingly maintained by KUPU members and a corps of volunteers.