Mānoa Heritage Center


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

Scott B. Power (President)

David Lee (Treasurer)

Beryl B. Blaich

Mark Burak

Catherine L. Cooke

Julie Cooke

Jack Gillmar

Patricia Halagao

Kaʻiu Kimura

Sam A. Cooke (Founder Emeritus)

Mary M. Cooke (Founder Emeritus)

Carol M. Fox (Emeritus)


John Barker

Curator of Archives

Nikita Batic

Executive Administrator

Nikita Batic has joined MHC as Executive Administrator. She has experience in the nonprofit sector, working alongside many organizations striving for a more sustainable Hawaiʻi. This immersion contributed to her deep appreciation for local farming and agriculture. Nikita is excited to support and contribute to the invaluable work being done here at MHC.

Jenny Engle

Director of Education

Jenny 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 has worked in advancement for 25+ years. Prior to joining MHC, she worked for the University of Hawaiʻi 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

Collections Specialist

From graduate school intern to staff member, Kelsey formerly managed MHC’s social media and communications but has transitioned to be part of the new collections team. She has a Master’s degree in Library & Information Science and graduate certificate in Museum Studies from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.

Lilia Lorenzo

Education Designer

As education designer, Lilia works with the rest of MHC’s education team to create and implement programs for visitors of all ages. Born and raised on Maui, she rides her bike to work, and has her own small business Lilia Poliahu Studio.

Kanoa Nakamura

Botanical Educator

As the botanical educator, Kanoa is part of the team that tends to 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

Facilities Manager

As MHC’s Facilities Manager, 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. 

Lisa Solomine

Executive Director

Lisa comes to MHC with 11 years of experience at the Hawaiian Mission Houses Historic Site and Archives as well as arts and non-profit work in Europe and New York. She recently concluded her term as President of the Hawaiʻi Museums Association but remains active on the Board of Directors. She has an MFA degree in Exhibition Design from the Berlin University of the Arts.

Jill Sommer

Director of Collections (Part time)

Jill is a Certified Digital Archive specialist with twenty-five years of project management and preservation experience in museum, archive, and repository settings.  Jill enjoys education, serving as Adjunct Faculty for the Library and Information Science Program and the Museum Studies Program at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. 

Kawai Souza

School Group Educator

Kawai Souza is from Honomakaʻu, Kohala and is passionate about ʻāina stewardship. She is grateful to be working with MHC as the School Group Educator to support and advocate for the preservation and perpetuation of Hawaiʻi’s wahi & ʻike kūpuna.

Kanoa Ventura-Barretto

Garden & Groundskeeper

Keʻala Wong

Cultural Educator

Lindsey Ke‘ala Wong is a graduate of 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 ʻike 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.