The Sugar Museum is home to a wide variety of exhibits. These exhibits depict 168 years of “King Sugar,” a chapter in Maui’s history that impacted the island’s landscape and multiculturalism. Visitors can peer into this influential time through the exploration of The Geography Room, The Founder’s Room, The Immigration Room, The Plantation Life Room, The Field Work Room, The Mill Room, and outdoor exhibits.
The Geography/Water Room
Explores how Maui’s geography and weather patterns influenced the development of the sugar industry. Included is information about the extensive irrigation system, network of tunnels and wells developed by the plantations, and highlights the bravery of the men who accomplished this tremendous feat.
The Founder’s Room
Explains the partnership between Samuel T. Alexander and Henry P. Baldwin, their role in developing Maui’s sugar industry, and the legacy they left.
The Immigration Room
The exhibits in this room reflect the different ethnic groups that traveled to Hawaii in response to the labor needs of the sugar industry. Displays include artifacts, photos, and documents – including labor contracts written in Hawaiian, Japanese, and Chinese.
The Plantation Room
Includes photos and fascinating exhibits portraying the multi-ethnic nature of plantation communities. Household artifacts, religious items, and a scale model of a worker’s camp house provide a well-rounded look at plantation life.
The Field Work Room
Provides an in-depth look at plantation workers in the fields through displays of surveying equipment, a cane knife, and a “kau kau tin” (lunch pail). In addition, a mannequin shows a Japanese woman’s complete field work outfit.
The Mill Room
Offers several interactive displays. These interactive displays include a 1915 locomotive bell, a model of a Cuban sugar mill, and an impressive working scale model of cane crushing machinery driven by a Corliss steam engine. A narrative with special lighting and sound effects accompanies the operation of the model.
Visitors can get a close-up look at some of the intriguing equipment and items used by the sugar plantation and the plantation workers. The equipment on display includes an 1898 Nordberg steam engine, a Cleveland Model J36 trench digger, a 1920s outdoor Portuguese oven, an 11 foot diameter Bull Gear, a cane hauler, vintage Caterpillar tractors, and a Caterpillar 660 cane hauler cab, among other items.