More than 100 historic items return home to Iolani Palace, but many artifacts are still missing

More than 100 historic items return home to Iolani Palace, but many artifacts are still missing
Helen Ladd Thompson Revocable Trust donation includes historical documents, royal orders, and long-lost photographs.

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Friends of Iolani Palace has welcomed home more than 100 items thanks to a donation from the Helen Ladd Thompson Revocable Living Trust.

“Many Palace treasures were lost to time after the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom, so we are extremely grateful to receive such well-preserved pieces from an important chapter of Hawaii’s history,” said Paula Akana, executive director of The Friends of Iolani Palace.

“It’s always fulfilling to see items return home, and we hope this donation will encourage others to help The Friends of Iolani Palace bring more objects home.”

File photo of Iolani Palace.
File photo of Iolani Palace. (Source: Hawaii News Now/file)

The Thompson family was inspired to donate the 113 objects they inherited from their ancestors, Antone and Emily Rosa, to share these representations of a unique time in Hawaii’s history with the public.

Antone Rosa served both King Kalakaua and Queen Liliuokalani in numerous positions, including as Attorney General and as a Privy Council member.

All items have been carefully preserved by the family, and include numerous royal orders, military accessories, historical documents, and photographs.

Helen Ladd Thompson Revocable Trust donation includes historical documents, royal orders, and long-lost photographs.
Helen Ladd Thompson Revocable Trust donation includes historical documents, royal orders, and long-lost photographs.

Also included in the donation is a helmet plate from the Prince’s Own, a volunteer uniformed artillery unit of the Hawaiian Kingdom, which inspired the 2019 Palace ornament.

Iolani Palace's 2019 Christmas ornament.
Iolani Palace's 2019 Christmas ornament. (Source: Iolani Palace)

Iolani Palace is the only official residence of royalty in the United States.

King Kalakaua was the first reigning monarch to travel around the world and built Iolani Palace in 1882 to enhance the prestige of Hawaii overseas and to mark Hawaii’s status as a modern nation.

Queen Kapiolani's second-floor bedroom.
Queen Kapiolani's second-floor bedroom. (Source: Iolani Palace)

Thousands of artifacts are still out there somewhere, either purchased a century ago at auctions following the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy in 1893, sold-off by the territorial and state governments, or handed down in families through the generations.

Iolani Palace has created a “most wanted” list to assist in the search, hunting everywhere from auction houses to Craigslist for new leads.

There's an estimated 5,000 pieces still at large.

Palace employees and volunteers have been searching for some items for more than 50 years, many of which have been scattered around the world.

If you think you may have original furniture, other items from the palace collections, or information about their whereabouts, please contact the curator.

Click here for a list of what palace historians say are the “most wanted” items.

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